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9/11 First Responders Head to Washington To Confront Negligent Administration/Lawmakers BY CARL MACGOWAN.carl.macgowan@newsday.com February 26, order claritin 2008

Mike McCormack, order claritin of Ridge, order claritin was part of a search team that found a battered American flag at the World Trade Center after the Sept. Order claritin 11, order claritin 2001, order claritin terror attacks.The flag had flown over the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and on a U.S. Order claritin Navy ship during the war in Afghanistan. Order claritin But McCormack, order claritin 49, order claritin says he is getting the cold shoulder from the Bush administration, order claritin which has proposed what the group says is a severe cut in health care for 9/11 first responders. He is one of more than 200 first responders who plan to hold a rally today on the west lawn of the Capitol building to call for a restoration of the funding. Order claritin They then plan to meet with lawmakers. "Handing out money to everyone and not taking care of your own - there's something wrong with that, order claritin" said McCormack, order claritin a major in the Air Force Auxiliary. Order claritin "It's just vicious." Three busloads of people from the metropolitan area rode to Washington, order claritin D.C., order claritin yesterday for the rally organized by the Long Island-based FealGood Foundation. Passengers said they have maladies that include leukemia, order claritin respiratory problems, order claritin heart ailments and memory loss. As one bus left Melville about 30 people relaxed while watching movies on overhead video screens. Order claritin But they turned angry when they described the illnesses they attribute to their work at the World Trade Center site and at a temporary morgue at the Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island. John McNamara, order claritin 42, order claritin of Blue Point, order claritin said he suffers from colon cancer caused by the toxic dust he inhaled at the World Trade Center. "President Bush came down, order claritin patted us on the back and said, order claritin 'Anything we needed, order claritin'" said McNamara, order claritin who is on medical leave from the Fire Department of New York. Order claritin "Now he's taking it away from us. Order claritin ... Order claritin What kind of a joke is that?" They fear it will be more difficult for first responders to receive affordable health care. "Before 9/11, order claritin you called us for help, order claritin" McNamara said. Order claritin "Now we need help." Alan Forcier, order claritin 48, order claritin of Nesconset, order claritin said he realized he had health problems when he returned to the police narcotics squad after about six months at Fresh Kills. "I found I couldn't go up the steps. Order claritin I had to stop. Order claritin I couldn't breathe, order claritin" he said. Order claritin "I said, order claritin 'Something's wrong here.'" He said he has an enlarged heart and post-traumatic stress disorder. Order claritin He's afraid he won't be able to afford an increase in his health care costs if the federal budget cuts go into effect. His ailments, order claritin he said, order claritin affect his memory and sleep habits. "I don't dream anymore, order claritin" he said, order claritin "which is good, order claritin because I don't have nightmares." Copyright © 2008, order claritin Newsday Inc.