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NEW YORK — Gov. Kathy Hochul honored a group of first responders perhaps surprisingly forgotten in the 20 years since Sept. 11, 2001.

The New York National Guard responded to the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 and in the aftermath of that day’s terror attacks, but due to technicalities in federal and state law, many have not been eligible to take advantage of benefits and resources like other first responders.

The governor called for legislation to consider these National Guard members as veterans, so they qualify for federal and state services.

“Many New York National Guard members who responded on 9/11 are not eligible for important support services and valuable federal and state benefits because they were called to duty that day by a state emergency order and not on federal active duty,” Gov. Hochul said. “On the 20th anniversary of 9/11, I am introducing legislation that will ensure that all of the National Guard members who were ordered into service at ground zero, and who have not otherwise earned veteran status through federal activation, are fully recognized as veterans under New York state law. The New York National Guard was there for us on that dark day, and we will be there for them.”

Hochul also issued a citation honoring members of the New York National Guard for their exemplary service both during and after the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

More than 6,700 New York State National Guard members were called to serve in response to and recovery from the attack on Sept. 11, 2001.