Saturday, September 10, 2011

Mayor Bloomberg Declines to Invite First Responders, Clergy To City's 9/11 Memorial

Oh my- isn't Micheal Bloomberg one of the founding luminaries of the 'No Labels' party? I guess those labels also include "FDNY" and "NYPD".

For the first time since the September 11th terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, first responders from the New York Police Department and New York Fire Department were not invited by the city to the 9/11 Ground Zero memorial ceremonies.
The first responders are not invited to this year's September 11 memorial ceremony at ground zero, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office confirmed Monday.

It's a painful insult for many of the approximately 3,000 men and women who risked their lives, limbs and lungs on that monumental day, puncturing another hole in a still searing wound.

In a statement, Bloomberg spokesman Andrew Brent said the commemoration ceremony is for the victims' families.

"While we are again focused on accommodating victims' family members, given the space constraints, we're working to find ways to recognize and honor first responders, and other groups, at different places and times," Brent said.

But first responder John Feal, founder of an advocacy group for the police officers, firefighters, civilian volunteers and others who worked at ground zero, assailed Brent's response, saying Bloomberg "lives in his own world."

"The best of the best that this country offered 10 years ago are being neglected and denied their rightful place," Feal said.

Denise Villamia, a first responder who worked at ground zero for several months, cried over the phone as she recalled her "totally heartbroken" reaction to the news that she could not attend the memorial service.

"I'm crying because it's really a big betrayal on the part of the city, to rob me from my way to pay homage and to find that comfort and healing," she said. "I feel that I have been robbed of my way to pay tribute."

In addition to the victims' families, several politicians, including two presidents, are expected to be in attendance
In New York City, 343 firefighters, 60 police officers and 8 paramedics were killed in the attacks. Some of the first responders and their loved ones have been circulating a petition hoping to persuade the Mayor's office to reverse course on their decision.

The mayor of New York City also declined to invite any clergy from the ceremony, defending his decision as a matter of separation of church and state.

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