CDC opens exhibit on lingering health effects of September 11th

It’s been 22 years since terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and the heroic passengers who sacrificed their own lives, downing their plane in a field in Pennsylvania, preventing it from crashing into the U.S. Capitol building. Survivors and family members of the victims still live with the aftermath of the attacks decades later.

Nearly 80,000 Americans live with the physical and mental-health effects of 9/11. They suffer with ailments ranging from lung disease to post-traumatic stress disorder. Nearly 900 them live in Georgia. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention opened at its David J. Sencer Museum on Monday displaying the long-lasting physical and mental-health effects. 

The twin towers are gone, the dust and smoke cleared. But Anthony Gardner still lives with the aftermath that infamous day. 


Harvey Joseph Gardner III

Harvey Joseph Gardner III (Supplied)

"My life changed completely on September 11th," Gardner said. "My brother, Harvey Joseph Gardner III, was killed at the World Trade Center on September 11th." 

Gardners’s brother was like a father figure. "He helped raise me. He helped me buy my first car. He was my role model. He was my hero before 9/11," Gardner said 

Harvey Joseph Gardner III

Harvey Joseph Gardner III (Supplied)

Harvey was trapped on the 83rd floor of the north tower. His family talked with him on the phone in the moments before he was killed. "We heard him comforting coworkers. They were trying to figure a way out of their offices," Gardner said. 

Gardner’s family desperately tried to find Harvey in the days and weeks that followed. They had to come to terms with the reality that Harvey was gone. "To this day, Harvey was one of the 40% of the victims who was never identified," Gardner said. 

The 'Tribute in Lights' 9/11 memorial light display is seen on the 22nd anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, in New York City on September 11, 2023. (Photo by ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images)

Gardner is one of thousands of family members still feeling the physical and mental-health effects 22 years later. 

"9/11 health impacts are still impacting people’s lives," said Gardner, who’s also a public affairs specialist with the CDC’s World Trade Center Health Program.

The agency’s museum exhibit details the ailments survivors and victims’ family members still live with. "Responders and survivors need to know about the program. They need to know about the benefits available to them," Gardner said.

The new 9/11 health effects exhibit at the CDC Museum in Atlanta

The new 9/11 health effects exhibit at the CDC Museum in Atlanta (FOX 5)

The exhibit also tells survivors how they can get free treatment for conditions related to the attack. "To provide compassionate care and raise awareness to responders and survivors who are still suffering 22 years after 9/11," Gardner said. 

The CDC says they want people to take away with feeling of hope when they view the exhibit.

If you’re living with ailments from 9/11 or know someone who is, check out the website for the CDC’s World Trade Center Health Program.