How to honor the heroes of 9/11
There is a debate in NYC as to whether there should be a unique memorial for all those who lost their lives, or whether there should be separate memorials for civilians and uniformed rescue workers.
John Finucane, a retired FDNY lieutenant, serves as chairman for the Advocates for a 9/11 Fallen Heroes Memorial and he is calling for all those who support a memorial for uniformed rescue workers to sign a petition. Visit his website at:
Here is the article he published today:
April 9, 2003 -- THE Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), the group charged with developing a permanent memorial for the victims of 9/11, will vote tomorrow on a resolution that will determine how New York City chooses to honor its fallen heroes.
LMDC board members are considering a resolution that is designed to ensure that the permanent memorial on the World Trade Center site not bear any "hierarchy of victims."
In other words, there could be no separate designations for the uniformed rescue workers who sacrificed their lives to save others.
There is no question that it is vitally important to remember and honor equally all the lives that were lost on 9/11 and in the 1993 bombing at the Twin Towers.
Each innocent life lost was precious, and our city will continue to mourn them all, as it remembers the nation's most devastating terrorist attack.
The permanent memorial will inspire us, and future generations, to continue to reflect on their lives and our loss.
However, every brave step forward our firefighters, police officers, EMT's and emergency workers took in the midst of the tragedy must also be remembered - as distinct acts of heroism.
We cannot forget the image of our uniformed members of the emergency service departments rushing into the burning towers as they selflessly honored their commitment to serve and protect.
It is now time to make sure future generations also do not forget.
The LMDC's guiding principles state explicity that the memorial should recognize "courage and sacrifice." A vote tomorrow to permanently block such recognition would seem to contradict the very spirit of those guidelines.
What is worse, it would represent a glaring failure to express the city's sincere gratitude for, and understanding of, the sacrifice made by our fallen rescue workers.
Surely, honoring their willingness to lay down their lives for others by designating a part of a greater memorial for them is the least we can do. We need to embrace our heroes left behind so we can go forward knowing they did not die in vain, and we will remain forever grateful for their sacrifice.
On the fateful morning of 9/11, Battalion Chief Orio Palmer led his men of Battalion 7 far up the South Tower to the burning 78th floor. Audiotapes of Chief Palmer's radio transmissions from the crash zone (released one year after the tragedy) are a resounding reminder of the courage and bravery of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
In the tapes, Chief Palmer does not sound fearful or panicked. Rather, he can be heard signaling to those on the ground that he would continue to climb higher into the inferno to come to the aid of the victims who were counting on him to be there.
As our troops in Iraq fill us again with pride for those willing to risk their lives for our country, we must never forget the pride in our fellow Americans that we felt on the days, weeks and months following 9/11.
We were proud to be Americans.
We were proud of our firefighters, police officers and rescue workers.
They were our heroes.
And we were grateful.
We must now make sure our gratitude is forever remembered by future generations with a permanent - and distinct - tribute to them on the site where rescue workers made their greatest sacrifice.
They did their job.
We must now do ours.
Chief Palmer's 12-year-old son, Keith, said it best in a poem he dedicated to his father that was recited at the chief's funeral.
"Because of you," Keith wrote, "I am a hero's son."
And New York will always remember.
John Finucane, a retired FDNY lieutenant, serves as chairman for the Advocates for a 9/11 Fallen Heroes Memorial
LMDC To Treat All WTC Victims Alike
Newsday, April 9, 2003. Although several active and retired firefighters are asking for special acknowledgment in the World Trade Center memorial, the redevelopment agency is likely Thursday to approve a resolution for the memorial to treat each victim equally.
Following an agency meeting with firefighters two weeks ago, the initial resolution opposing any hierarchy in the memorial changed considerably, and Thursday's version will include language about the heroism of Sept. 11 being included in the memorial, sources said.
That's not enough for several active duty and retired firefighters, who plan to attend Thursday's Lower Manhattan Development Corp. meeting wearing their bunker gear, worn to fight fires.
Retired New York City firefighter John Finucane, a member of the Advocates for a 9/11 Fallen Heroes Memorial, wants the memorial to alphabetically list all the names of the firefighters and "and perhaps" emergency service workers who died Sept. 11, including their rank, badge number and unit, with language to explain their sacrifice.
"All we ask is what is right," said Finucane. "We're fearful that New York will become the state that forgets its heroes."
Notes accompanying the LMDC memorial mission statement said that the memorial should "honor the loss of life equally and the contributions of all without establishing any hierarchies."
Redevelopment agency board member Tom Johnson, who lost his investment banker son in the attack, had asked the board at its March 13 meeting to publicly endorse its opposition to ranking the trade center victims within the memorial. The vote will not impact the memorial competition, which is set to launch on April 28. The LMDC did not require board approval for the memorial mission statement or guidelines.
"There should be no hierarchy," said Johnson, the president of Greenpoint Bank, speaking on March 13. "How would you determine that? And why would anyone want to?"
Johnson did not return a call for comment Wednesday.
After attending Thursday's meeting, members of the fallen heroes will hold a news conference in front of the Ladder 10, Engine 10 firehouse on Liberty Street, across the street from the trade center site to discuss the outcome of the scheduled memorial vote. The firehouse, which lost four firefighters, was severely damaged in the attack.
For more informationa bout the memorial, go to www.renewnyc.com. The memorial lobbying group's website is www.fdnyfirefighters.com.
One Memorial to Honor WTC Victims
NEW YORK (AP) -- The agency in charge of redeveloping the World Trade Center site decided Thursday that a single memorial will honor all Sept. 11 victims equally, angering groups who say firefighters and others deserve special recognition.
Members of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. voted unanimously to ``honor the loss of life equally and the contributions of all without establishing any hierarchies.''
The move threatened to revive friction between family members of the rescue workers killed at the trade center and relatives of non-uniformed victims.
``New York should not have a reputation of forgetting its heroes,'' said John Finucane, a retired firefighter who heads a group called ``Advocates for a 9/11 Fallen Heroes Memorial.''
The group wants the memorial to list the 343 firefighters, 37 Port Authority police officers, 23 New York Police Department officers and any other uniformed rescue workers who died at the trade center alphabetically by department, with their rank, badge number and unit included.
In its resolution, the development corporation suggested stories of the rescue workers' historic sacrifice should be told at the interpretive museum that will be built nearby, and not at the memorial itself.
``To distinguish among those who died diminishes our need to honor life, all life, and to commemorate the sacrifice of all the lives in an attack on our nation,'' said Tom Johnson, a board member whose son was killed at the trade center.
The board also said that the 13-member jury that will choose a design for the memorial. The jury includes Maya Lin, who designed the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial in Washington, and Paula Grant Berry, whose husband, David, died in the trade center.
Anita Contini, who oversees the memorial process for the development corporation, said the jury will choose a design by early November.
The memorial guidelines will be announced on April 28, at which point anyone in the world who is over 18 will be allowed to register for the design competition and make submissions between June 9 and June 30.
Jurors will not know the identities of the people whose work they are evaluating.