Working-Class Heroes

Towering Losses, Towering Deeds

On Day Two, a volunteer trying to bring food and water to rescuers pointed to a small backhoe, calling out: "Whose machine is that?" A member of Carpenters Local 1456, whose jurisdiction is limited to building docks, answered, "I don't know but if you need it, I can run it." He jumped in the cab and began clearing a path through the dust and debris.

Nobody was paid that first week. Meanwhile, paying jobs at construction worksites elsewhere in the city sat abandoned as workers refused to leave the rescue effort. Finally, in an effort to get the city going again, Building Trades leader Ed Malloy sent out a written plea for his members to return to work.

Terror, by definition, recognizes no innocents; its power flows from the fear it engenders with random casualties, by proving the frightening vulnerability of everyday targets. That lesson was clearly received. But it was just as effectively refuted with every shovelful lifted from the pile.

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