The Corner

Re: Private Fema

There are the charitable organizations as well as the corporations, of course. The Salvation Army on 9/11/01 was almost immediately at work once we were attacked—no one had to ask them to be there, this is what they do, no government mandates or bureacratic holdups. This is from a piece I did a while back on

Within 45 minutes of the September 11

terrorist attacks, about 200 Salvation Army

officers got themselves to the crash sites in

New York City, Virginia, and Pennsylvania,

assisted by some 5,000 volunteers. (No one

even had to ask, they just marched to the

scene, ready for whatever they faced.) According

to Salvation Army reports, personnel

got to what would become known as

“Ground Zero” in Manhattan so quickly that

one of their trucks was covered in debris

when the first tower of the World Trade

Center collapsed.

The Army quickly set up 21 mobile feeding

stations in Manhattan that served 300,000

meals during the first 72 hours after the attack.

As Worth magazine reported, they provided

whatever was needed, literally: “American

flags to drape over a refrigerated truck

bearing the remains of a fallen policeman,

hundreds of teddy bears to comfort the children

of the victims, Vicks VapoRub for the

rescuers to smear inside their nostrils to

cover the acrid stench of death and burning

metal. Small things, but, as the grateful recipients

declared over and over, they made all the

difference at ground zero.” Salvation Army

staff and volunteers gave rescue and recovery

workers foot massages. (“We would take

their boots off, and they would literally be

melting,” an Army soldier reported. “We

would massage their feet, put on salve, then

put on new socks and boots.”) They seemingly

thought of everything and everyone,

from all reports: Salvationists even handed

out phone cards for the rescue and recovery

workers to call home with. Coordinating with

federal and city workers, the Salvation Army’s

counseling experience made them lifesavers

not only for grieving families, but for workers

faced with the overwhelming death and destruction.

From around the world donations have

come in, and the Army has used whatever

they have been sent. Gloves, respirators,

hardhats, bottled water. Children have sent

in snack packs with notes for the rescue

workers. One typical letter, this one from a

child in Alabama, reads: “Dear Volunteirs[sic],

Thank you for helping. It seems you are

helping all of America.”

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