Friday, September 11, 2015

September 11, 2015 -- I Remember Donald H. Gregory

This is the tenth year that I have participated in Project 2996, a tribute to the 2,996 innocent victims of 9/11, where bloggers eulogize each victim. Previously, I have remembered Steven Harris Russin, Lt. Col. Jerry Don Dickerson Jr.Mary Lenz WiemanMark Francis BroderickCapt. Patrick J, BrownHagay ShefiAlison Marie Wildman, Daniel Thomas Afflitto, and Donna Bernaerts-Kearns. Please check out these tributes as well today, as they deserve to be remembered too.  Also, please check out Lawhawk's post, where he continues to do an amazing job of detailing the progress of the WTC Site and the politics surrounding the site!

As I look back on these tributes, I remember why this project was started.  To eulogize the 2,996 victims of 9/11.  However, as we have been learning since that day, the list of victims has grown.  Some 20,000+ people, first responders and people living and working in the area, are sick with various diseases, including respiratory illness, and cancer.  Just recently,  Marcy Borders, who was captured in a haunting photo, covered in toxic 9/11 dust, died of stomach cancer.  These people, dying all too often from toxins they encountered on 9/11 and in the immediate aftermath.  It is for this reason that all Americans, must put aside politics, and pressure our politicians expand the Zadroga Act, to include more help for these people.  To expand the list of covered illnesses to include cancers, lymphoma, leukemia, etc., as well as PTSD, and physical injuries. Moreover, Congress needs to take steps to make funding for this act permanent, and not subject to political whims!

Today, I remember Donald H. Gregory.  as always, I select my tributes randomly from Project 2,996's website.  What struck me when I was going through the site is that even today, 10 years later, we still have names that were not selected by bloggers in the past.  So I selected Donald, from the list of names with no eulogy listed.  I hope that my words can capture the person.

Donald was a survivor.  He survived the 1993 attacks on the World Trade Center, walking 104 floors down in the World Trade Center on the day that terrorists declared that New York City buildings and innocent people were not off limits.  While the 1993 attack did not leave an indelible mark on the ones sworn to protect us, it did on Donald, who had dreams thereafter that he was trapped in the building as it was collapsing.  Unfortunately, those nightmares became reality.

On September 11, 2001, Donald wasn't supposed to be in his office, where he, like so many others, worked for Cantor Fitzgerald.  He had survived triple bypass bond surgery, which had kept him out of the office for several months.  He had survived circulatory issues related to diabetes, and had been out for several weeks.  But, the dedicated professional, wanted to return to work, and had come back only late in the week before the attack.  .

Donald is survived by his wife Maureen, who he made a point of kissing every day.  Maureen remembered Donald as a man of "quiet faith".  "He had a generosity of spirit that extended to all in our family. Most importantly, he taught to believe in yourself."  Donald also has three children, Amanda, then 20, Sara, then 19, James, then 14, who inherited his father's love for sports,


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