September 11, 2011 marks the 10th anniversary of the devastating attacks that forever changed the course of American history. In a special message, AFGE National President John Gage recalls the impact of the attacks on federal employees and the federal government.
9/11 – a day America will remember. Federal workers were there too.
Ten years ago, terrorists attacked the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon and crashed a plane into a Pennsylvania field. More than 3,000 Americans lost their lives on that day, among them dozens of federal employees.
Thirty-eight year old Richard Guadagno was on United Flight 93, which was headed to the nation’s capital before passengers reclaimed the hijacked plane and forced it to crash outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Richard was a Fish and Wildlife Service employee who managed the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Eureka, California. No one will ever know exactly which passengers charged the cockpit that day. But Richard’s colleagues believed he would have been among them, calling him a “damn good cop” who trained at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Georgia.
In addition to those federal employees who were killed, many of our government workers were among the first to respond to the scene of those horrific attacks — federal firefighters, environmental analysts from the EPA, DC EMS workers and even the VA psychiatrists who helped counsel survivors.
Much has changed since Sept. 11, 2001. Congress formed the Department of Homeland Security to ensure better coordination among all our federal law enforcement agencies, and a new agency called the Transportation Security Administration was created to take over control of airport security functions that used to be contracted out.
Since that time, there has not been another terrorist attack on U.S. soil.
As the union recently elected to represent Transportation Security Officers at TSA, we do so with pride. We are proud of the day-to-day heroism of our federal employees and of all public sector workers. Whether it’s our FEMA workers, our Social Security employees, our VA nurses, our meat inspectors, or the men and women who support our troops, guard our borders and inspect our bridges and buildings – we support America.