We Remember You

Angle Luis Juarbe, Jr a Bronxite and firefighter who lost his life on 9/11 is immortalized not just in the hearts of his loved ones but in a South Bronx schoolyard mural by Tats Cru

On a day like today we should stop the xenophobia that is plaguing our communities and country and love each other. Today is a day for love, not hatred and if you sow hatred in your hearts for those different than you then let today be the day you yank those weeds and replace it with seeds of love for your fellow humans. Do it for those no longer with us.

We can never forget that morning, that day 14 years ago. It was a picture perfect day, warm and not a cloud in the sky.

It was a day we lost 156 Bronx residents and thousands more in our city not counting the tragic losses in Pennsylvania, and the Pentagon.

To date, the casualties from 9/11 continue to increase as the number of 1st responders and people who lived or worked in the area continue to die as a result of cancer from all that toxic dust.

The Bronx’s casualty number is now at 157 as Bronxite Leon Heyward passed away from exposure to the toxic cloud of dust in 2008 becoming the 2,752nd casualties that day (that number now is 2,753).

According to The New York Times in 2009:

“Leon Heyward emerged from the subway just as the second plane struck, piercing the south tower. As others fled, he helped evacuate disabled employees from 42 Broadway, where he worked for the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs, and when the first tower fell, he was caught in the churning plume of contaminated dust and smoke.

Within months he started to feel sick. A father of two who prided himself on being fit, Mr. Heyward found himself overcome with fatigue. He had seizures; his memory slipped. Once, while working undercover as an inspector, he forgot where he was.

“It was hard seeing him go from being strong and muscular and running around to watching him sit there,” said his ex-wife, Monique Heyward.

Last October, after developing lymphoma, Mr. Heyward died at age 45 in the Bronx, where he was born and had formed one of the earliest rap groups. He became, officially, the latest casualty of the Sept. 11 terror attack, and just after 10 on a gusty, dreary Friday morning, the name Leon Bernard Heyward was read for the first time at ground zero as the nation paused again to remember its losses.”

As of last year, 2,509 first responders and workers in the area now have cancer which are believed to be directly related to 9/11.

The numbers are expected to grow and so will the casualties keeping the wounds of this terrible day alive.

Our hearts are with everyone today whether we lost someone directly, or indirectly or are suffering from mental health issues, medical conditions as a direct result from 9/11.

We remember you.

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Ed García Conde

Ed García Conde is a life-long Bronxite who spends his time documenting the people, places, and things that make the borough a special place in the hopes of dispelling the negative stereotypes associated with The Bronx. His writings are often cited by mainstream media and is often consulted for his expertise on the borough's rich history.