For 10 years, Jon Stewart has been advocating for 9/11 first responders and those who were sickened in the fallout and clean-up of the World Trade Center attack. Stewart has repeatedly made trips to Washington, leading a delegation of responders and surviving family members. His impassioned testimony this week went viral, and only one day later the House Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to move a bill forward to permanently reauthorize the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. The bill is now on the way to the House for a full vote.
In the hallway after Stewart’s testimony, the first responders who appeared with Stewart before Congress surprised the former talk show host with a deeply heartfelt gift: a bunker coat that had belonged to Capt. Raymond J. Pfeifer, a New York City firefighter from Engine 40 and Ladder 35 on the Upper West Side of Manhattan who worked tirelessly alongside Stewart to fight for survivor benefits. Capt. Pfeifer spent eight months digging through the toxic debris of the World Trade Center and died of cancer in 2017. Even as he battled end-stage cancer, he still considered himself a lucky man.
His obituary in The New York Times included these lines:
“I’m being poisoned, and I’m dying, every single day, because of terrorism,” Mr. Pfeifer told WPIX-TV in 2014.
But unlike the 343 firefighters who died on Sept. 11, 2001, “I’m a very lucky man,” he said.
“My friends were murdered on 9/11,” he added. “From the 12th on, from that day on, I’m still here. I’m very lucky. I got to watch my kids grow up.”
This is the deeply heartfelt moment when the first responders gave Stewart Capt. Pfeifer’s East Meadow Fire Department bunker coat and told the story of how they got it. WATCH:
Jon Stewart shed tears as a group of 9/11 first responders gifted him his late friend’s firefighter jacket pic.twitter.com/jrwSogeGxs
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) June 13, 2019