FDNY group seeks special tribute


A group of retired firefighters still wants a Ground Zero memorial to honor uniformed rescuers separately from other victims - even though officials already nixed the idea.

"Why in God's name would anyone not want to recognize what these brave, brave men did?" John Finucane, a retired FDNY lieutenant who's leading the charge, said.

Officials at the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., the agency overseeing the permanent tribute to the nearly 3,000 victims of Sept. 11, rejected the idea of a "hierarchy" of victims at a board meeting two weeks ago.

And the families of many civilians who died in the twin towers have decried such a plan, saying everyone who died should be equally recognized.

Still, members of Advocates For A 9-11 Fallen Heroes Memorial, a group launched by the FDNY's Emerald Society, pushed the case in a meeting with LMDC staffers last week, making clear the issue will linger as the memorial competition gets underway next month.

Instead of a separate memorial, the group is asking for firefighters, NYPD cops, Port Authority police officers and other uniformed workers to be "appropriately memorialized" and grouped together when the victims are listed in the permanent tribute.

Separate listing

"We request that the names of our fallen heroes be listed alphabetically, by department, and most importantly together, just as they would want," the group wrote in a letter to the Lower Manhattan Development Corp.

Asked about the meeting, corporation spokesman Matthew Higgins said, "We want an opportunity to hear from them directly about their concerns and their viewpoint."

The group has launched a petition drive and says it has the support of FDNY Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta, among others. Scoppetta could not be reached to confirm his support.

Tom Roger, whose daughter, Jean, was a flight attendant who died that day, said the idea creates an unfair divide.

"My daughter was a flight attendant. She wore a uniform. Does she qualify?" Roger said.

Originally published on March 30, 2003