City snubs finest: Victims’ kin, pols invited but ‘no room’ for first responders at 9/11 anniversary
August 13th 2011
By Alison Gendar
NYDaily News Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON – The cops, firefighters and rescue workers who toiled at Ground
Zero will not be invited to take part in the 10th anniversary ceremony, a city
official told the Daily News Friday.
First responders will instead be asked back to the site at another day for
a separate commemorative ceremony, city officials said.
Space and security logistics were at the heart of the decision, those involved
Family of the nearly 3,000 killed receive first priority at an event with maximum
President Obama’s appearance will make the day even more of a security concern.
For many first responders, though, the news was a bitter pill.
[Photo, right: A select few gathered at the relecting pool honoring 9/11
victims at Ground Zero last year for the ninth anniversary of the attacks on
the World Trade Center. Credit: Don Emmert/Pool]
“To have a separate service on another day has no significance, no meaning,”
said David Jacobs of Queens, who volunteered at the site sifting debris 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.
As many as 91,000 people took part in the initial search and rescue and subsequent
10-month cleanup, according to estimates taken for the city.
In past years, first responders were welcomed to the annual commemoration because
little or no construction had begun at the site and space was not at a premium.
Lawmakers also got word yesterday that their numbers were restricted. Only
representatives from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut got congressional
approval to attend.
House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) Friday decided the government would
pick up the tab for representatives from just those three states.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan) had sought to make the event open to lawmakers
from across the country since the devastation was a national tragedy, not just
a regional event.
In contrast, all lawmakers are allowed to attend the memorial in Shankesville,
Pa., where the hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 eventually crashed.