editorial: First responders not invited to 9/11 ceremony in NYC
KJ Mullins-NYC: Almost ten years ago two planes flew into the World Trade Towers on September 11, 2001. Those first on the scene were the police, paramedics and fire fighters. They fought hard to save as many as they could while facing life-threatening odds. They are now told not to come a 10th anniversary event.
New York City officials have deemed that there isn’t enough room to allow for the men and women who were first to run to the rescue at Ground Zero for the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
The families of the victims will be invited as will some high ranking politicians including President Barack Obama and former president George W. Bush. Rudy Giulaini, the mayor of New York City at the time of the attack, will also be there.
The city though does not have enough room for the estimated 91,000 police, firefighters and emergency workers that dug through the rubble to save who they could that day. They are to be invited back another day for a commemorative ceremony according to city officials.
There is no doubt that the first priority at the event be for those whose loved ones were lost. And there lays the rub. Every first responder at the scene lost someone they cared about that day. The brotherhood of police, firefighters and EMS workers were mourning the loss of life of many, yet their loss is not being accounted for.
Uncoverage.net quotes David Jacobs, a man who volunteered at the site to sift debris.
“To have a separate service on another day has no significance, no meaning,” said Jacobs of Queens, who volunteered at the site and who lost a childhood friend, a city firefighter, in the attacks.
“For many of us, we gave a lot at that site,” he said.
It’s true that first responders have never been invited to the ceremonies in the past but this year is special. Ten years have passed since that fateful day. The ones who raced to the scene are to be given a special day but it has yet to be set.
By saying the families of victims of that day are being invited but denying the first responders a place at the ceremony is saying that their brotherhood is not as important. They all lost so many as whole units ran into the burning towers never to return.
It’s true that first responders face danger every day. It’s part of the job to put one’s self in the line of fire to protect others. To fight death at every turn is what heroes do.
On that day the city lost 343 New York City Fire Department firefighters, including one FDNY Fire Chaplain, Franciscan Fr. Mychal Judge, 23 New York City Police Department officers, and 37 Port Authority Police Department officers. About 2,000 first responders were injured during the attacks.
Their families will be invited to the event but not their extended family whom they faced life and death with on a daily basis.
Something is wrong in that.