Welcome to the Department of Justice, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller

"Everyday Heroes" Observance
Tuesday, September 10, 2002

Remarks of Attorney General Tom Miller

To Gov. Vilsack and the People of Iowa:

We are honored to present this Iowa flag to be raised today in memory of the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks and their survivors, and in honor of the many every-day heroes from Iowa who responded to serve in the wake of the disaster.

This flag flew over Ground Zero. It flew atop the huge, 1000-ton crane that rose high above the wreckage at the World Trade Center site for many weeks. The Iowa flag was requested by the team of construction workers there. They wanted to fly our flag in appreciation of the work of scores of ordinary Iowans who volunteered and came to serve at Ground Zero.

This particular group of Iowans served on the Iowa Crisis Response Team. One assignment of the teams was to provide support to these construction workers doing the extremely demanding physical and emotional work of clearing the site and searching for bodies and personal items of thousands of persons killed in the attack on September 11.

Fourteen Iowa Crisis Response Team groups served in NY. The first Team of nine Iowans arrived in New York on September 23, just days after the attack. The team went to New York and New Jersey at the invitation of N.O.V.A., the National Organization for Victim Assistance. The NOVA invitation came a week after Sept. 11, and the first Iowa Team left for New York just three days later.

The Iowa Crisis Response team is trained and organized by the Attorney General's Crime Victim Assistance Division, but members come from all parts of the state and many walks of life including social workers, clergy, corrections counselors, crime victim advocates, and others. They truly are ordinary, every-day Iowans doing extraordinary work.

The overall mission of the teams is to provide emotional support and respite to survivors, local care givers, and - in this situation - construction workers assigned the grim and difficult task of searching for remains and clearing the Ground Zero site. Earlier, the first Iowa team worked with pilots and flight attendants at JFK airport who witnessed the attacks, conducted group crisis intervention sessions to help survivors cope with emotional trauma, worked with employees of businesses located close to Ground Zero, and coordinated scheduling and assignments for other states' crisis response teams.

Days after the first Iowa team came home, a second Crisis Response Team of 10 Iowans headed out. Eventually 14 Iowa teams totaling 84 persons served in New York and New Jersey. Teams served at the Family Assistance Center at Liberty Park NJ, just across the Hudson from Ground Zero, and finally several Iowa teams served at the Ground Zero site itself supporting construction workers, firefighters, police and others in their difficult duties.

This flag, which flew over our Capitol before going to New York, flew high over the Ground Zero site on December 11, just three months after the attacks, at the request of the construction workers who were deeply grateful to Iowa.

Many other Iowans served in other capacities in New York and New Jersey, Washington DC, Pennsylvania -- and here in Iowa -- in the wake of the September 11 attacks. Medical examiners, fire fighters, police, OSHA workers, Guard men and women, emergency preparedness workers, Red Cross, Salvation Army - volunteers of all kinds stepped forward.

This Iowa flag came home with some of the grimy stains and odors of Ground Zero in New York. Yes, it was a place of horror, but it also was a place of bravery and spirit and public service by Iowans.

This flag honors victims and survivors, and ALL Iowans who showed their skill, preparedness, and willingness to volunteer to help make life better for others in the wake of September 11.

Governor, we are proud to present this flag to you and the people of Iowa.

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