Emerald Society pushes for separate firefighters memorial


(Original publication: October 13, 2002)

After leading the way at so many funerals of fallen comrades, the Fire Department of New York Emerald Society Pipes and Drums were out front yesterday, leading thousands of firefighters to Madison Square Garden.

The arena, long the home of champions, yesterday welcomed the families of 356 heroes who gave their lives in the line of duty in New York City during the past two years. It was the Fire Department's official memorial service for its fallen members and an opportunity to honor the families who lost their loved ones.
Among those honored were 343 FDNY members who died at the World Trade Center, among them 180 members of the Fire Department's Emerald Society.

Now that organization, representing 4,000 firefighters of Irish ancestry among about 11,000 FDNY members, is leading the effort to create a separate monument at Ground Zero to honor the 343 who died there on Sept. 11.

The Lower Manhattan Development Corp., which is overseeing plans for the World Trade Center site, favors a single memorial at Ground Zero to honor all who died in the terror attacks and their aftermath.

The Emerald Society has another view, says retired FDNY Lt. John Finucane of Stony Point, who has been the group's director of political education for 25 years.

"We disagree with the LMDC," Finucane says in a letter being circulated to Emerald Society members and to volunteer and paid fire departments across the country. "What the firefighters did that day