Honoring The Women Heroes of 9/11
All of us who sped to the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and Shanksville on that day did so not out of a desire for fame or fortune but to try to help people.
Three women rescuers gave their lives on 9/11 trying to save the lives of others—NYPD officer Moira Smith, PAPD Captain Kathy Mazza and EMT Yamel Merino.
Hundreds more women rescuers were injured.
An unprecedented number of women responded to the World Trade Center from many different agencies and many parts of the country.
But despite the fact that women rescuers and recovery workers were at the Trade Center on 9/11 and the many days thereafter, they have been virtually invisible in the flurry of media coverage of the “heroes” of 9/11—both contemporaneous with the tragedy and all the anniversaries since.
In addition to the women firefighters, police officers, emergency medical personnel, military and other emergency responders, women also contributed their skills as construction workers, utility workers, and other trades.
They were counselors, Red Cross, Salvation Army, healing artists and countless women volunteers.
Women did everything at the World Trade Center that the men did.
Are current and future generations of children going to grow up believing (inaccurately) that only men were strong, brave and heroic on 9/11? It’s not just the fact that women heroes have been erased from the 9/11 historical narrative that is disturbing, it’s also disturbing that those who attempt to remind people of the women heroes have been personally attacked as divisive.
In fact, those of us who have spoken up about the invisibility of women in the 9/11 narrative are trying to show the world the true strength of the United States— that in times of crisis, people from many different backgrounds and both women and men work together and make sacrifices on behalf of our country and our communities. And that deserves to be preserved. That is a patriotic and inspiring message.
If we all make the effort to remind people that women are heroes too, media will be more historically accurate and more inspirational to future generations. Our daughters and our sons deserve to know the truth.