Saturday, August 20 2011 - First Responders/Health Effects
City snubs finest: Victims' kin, pols invited but 'no room' for first responders at 9/11 anniversary
August 13th 2011
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 said.
Family of the nearly 3,000 killed receive first priority at an event with maximum security.
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.
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