Heroes' Honors; Awards, ribbons for FDNY

Copyright 2002 Newsday, Inc.
Newsday (New York, NY)...06/01/2002

By William Murphy; STAFF WRITER

Special decorations will be awarded to active and retired firefighters who died in the Sept. 11 rescue effort or who worked at Ground Zero, the Fire Department said Friday.

A departmental Medal of Valor will be awarded posthumously to the 343 firefighters who died in the rescue effort, according to an order sent to all fire commands.

A Survivor/Rescuer Ribbon will be given to firefighters who worked at Ground Zero from the time of the first alarm at 8:46 a.m. on Sept. 11 - the time that Tower Two at the World Trade Center was struck by a hijacked jetliner - until 10:28 a.m. (Tower One collapsed at 10:29 a.m.)

A Rescuer Ribbon will be awarded to firefighters who worked in the trade center area after the towers' collapse and until 1:28 p.m. the next day, when the last victim was pulled out alive.

A Campaign Ribbon will be given to all firefighters in the department as of Sept. 11 who were at Ground Zero at any point after the attack, and all retired firefighters who worked as volunteers.

"The department recognizes the many heroic acts that took place on September 11th, 2001, and the days that followed," the order said.

Department spokesman Frank Gribbon said the date of the awards ceremony had not been set, but it probably would be in October. The designs of the medals and ribbons have not been finalized.

It has not yet been decided which commendations will be awarded at the public ceremony and which will be given privately, perhaps by a superior officer, Gribbon said.

Fire Capt. Peter Gorman, president of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, said his union and the Uniformed Firefighters Association had worked with the Fire Department to come up with fitting tributes.

"I think that every member of this department has been at Ground Zero at some point, and they will all get the Campaign Ribbon," Gorman said.

In addition to the medals from the department, each of the 343 lost firefighters will be given the traditional Medal of Valor from the parent union, the International Association of Fire Fighters.

William Mirro, recording secretary of the rank-and-file firefighters' union, said he had heard some grumbling among firefighters that the annual medal ceremony for valor that is usually held in June had been canceled this year in the wake of Sept. 11.

"Medal Day is usually a positive day and we could use a positive day," Mirro said. "We figured the site would be done by then and it has been."

The Fire Department said the World Trade Center medals would be one-of-a-kind, and unlike most department medals would not count as points toward *********.

Saturday is the deadline for company commanders to forward reports to fire headquarters on which firefighters qualify for the various commendations.