Blog

« Back to Blog List
blog image

September 11, 2014

A Day of Remembrance 2014

by: Jodi Westbrook Flowers

“We’ll leave no stone unturned, I can assure you of that.”

Ron Motley at the Aug. 15, 2002 press conference announcing the filing of Thomas E. Burnett, Sr., et al. vs. Al Baraka Investment & Development Corporation, et al.

On September 11, 2001, the unthinkable happened. Thirteen years have passed, and yet the memories of the terrorist attacks on 9/11 remain etched in our collective memory. We will not forget the horrific images of that day, but at the same time we remember how the need to help our fellow Americans came over our nation in unprecedented waves.

In addition to the thousands who rushed to New York City and Washington, D.C., to lend a hand where they could, many more worked to collect food and clothing, to donate blood, to raise funds. Americans everywhere pitched in to help the survivors and the families of those so brutally murdered. Across the world, the search for al Qaeda members and its leader, Osama bin Laden, surged forward led by our brave troops.

Following the 9/11 attacks, brave survivors here at home asked for answers. Ron Motley answered the call of the 9/11 families and began a global investigation into who sponsored al Qaeda and 9/11. After doing so, Motley Rice filed a civil lawsuit aimed at holding responsible the individuals, financial institutions, corporations and charities that plaintiffs allege provided material support to al Qaeda and Bin Laden. Ron applied his no-stone-unturned discovery philosophy to the underbelly of terror financing and the breaches in our aviation security system. Other civil cases grew from this effort, including the Arab Bank terror financing trial currently underway in federal court in Brooklyn.

In In re Terror Attacks on September 11, 2001, MDL #1570, pending in the Southern District of New York, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was reinstated as a defendant this year as a result of rulings by the Second Circuit. The Plaintiffs will file their amended pleading against Saudi Arabia this week. As the Burnett terror financing case continues, another injustice unfolds in the realm of public health.  While 9/11 survivors and victims’ families fight back in the courts and in the halls of Congress, the number of victims from that tragic day continues to mount.

Today, tens of thousands of survivors, residents, area workers and responders suffer from respiratory illnesses and related injuries as a result of exposure to toxic World Trade Center dust in the aftermath, rescue, recovery and clean-up. Close to 60 cancers and a number of chronic diseases have been linked to WTC dust exposure. The 9/11 Victims’ Compensation Fund Part II was specifically reopened for these workers and residents to help them with their losses and treatment. To protect them, Congress must act to fully fund the VCF II on behalf of all those sickened on 9/11 and in the days and months that followed.

In 2014, significant strides were made in honoring the memory of those killed on 9/11. This year we saw the opening of the National September 11th Memorial Museum, which stands at the foot of a forested plaza surrounding the water-filled footprints of the Twin Towers at the 9/11 Memorial in lower Manhattan. On this day, Motley Rice makes its first donation to the National September 11th Museum, Foreseeability of the September 11, 2001 Attacks on the U.S. Homeland, an example of Ron Motley’s tireless efforts on behalf of the 9/11 families.

The Freedom Tower also opened this year, as a reminder of American resilience. At a symbolic 1,776 feet, the Freedom Tower is the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere. The rebuilding stands as a testimony to the American spirit.

9/11 was our nation’s most horrible day, yet it brought out the best in so many of us. We will never forget the horror of that day, and our hearts go out to all of the families we have the honor of representing in seeking justice and accountability.