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Thread: Pataki's 9/11 Obligation

  1. #1
    Administrator Neil's Avatar
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    Dec 2001
    South West

    Pataki's 9/11 Obligation


    January 13, 2004 -- Gov. Pataki will get another chance tomorrow to say - at long last - just how he thinks fallen rescue workers ought to be remembered, and honored, for the singular sacrifices they made on 9/11.
    The occasion: The unveiling of the latest design for the Ground Zero memorial by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, an entity Pataki controls.

    He must do the right thing.

    He must announce that the design distinguishes clearly between rescue workers, who willingly put their lives in jeopardy, and others, who (harsh as it may sound) died as victims of happenstance.

    So far, the gov's lips have been tightly sealed.

    Pataki's silence in this case is unforgivable: The battle over the names (some 2,800) may sound petty - a parochial fight between friends and families of firefighters, cops and other emergency workers, on one hand, and those of civilian victims, on the other.

    It's not.

    "Enough is enough from Gov. Pataki," retired FDNY Lt. John Finucane, who heads Advocates for a 9-11 Fallen Heroes Memorial, said at a rally Sunday.

    Finucane accused Pataki of "playing with the emotions" of victims' survivors by sitting on the fence.

    "You're a governor," he said. "You're supposed to be able to make decisions."


    And the decision must be to single out those who, on 9/11, more than earned their titles as The Bravest and The Finest.

    Yes, many civilians performed heroic deeds that day.

    But that's hardly the point.

    Rescue workers knew they were taking a risk that day - even if few of them dwelled on it or thought it likely the towers would fall.

    Most folks, after all, were running away from the site.

    Indeed, some firefighters reportedly refused to leave with civilians present.

    And this is the kind of courage and selfless heroism that New York's rescue workers display every single day.

    It needs to be honored properly.

    If not - if heroic deaths are to be lumped indiscriminately with those that result from mere misfortune - then who'd want to be a hero?

    Go that route and New York, and America, may soon find themselves without any heroes.

    And at a time (like now) when bravery is needed more than ever.

    A description of the memorial chosen last week calls for "flexibility in the placement of names."

    But it fails to insist that the true heroes of that awful day be grouped and listed separately.

    So it's up to Pataki.

    He's been silent long enough.

    It's time to give the heroes their due.

  2. #2
    Administrator Neil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    South West




    January 14, 2004 -- The controversy over how to list the names of rescue workers in the Ground Zero memorial heated up yesterday, with firefighters voicing disapproval of a plan to list all the 9/11 victims together in random order.
    Memorial designer Michael Arad and development officials had proposed marking the names of rescue workers in the memorial with an insignia showing where they worked, such as a shield with the symbol of the FDNY, the NYPD or the Port Authority Police.

    But instead of separating out the names of rescue workers and listing them all together on the stone parapets around the site's large reflecting pools - as firefighters have demanded - Arad is suggesting mixing them in randomly with the thousands of names of other victims.

    He felt this would have a profound impact, driving home the reality that one of every seven names is that of a rescue worker, sources said.

    It would also show how the firefighters and cops died side by side with the people they were trying to save.

    But when Arad and officials at the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. explained the plan to a firefighters group last night, the members reacted angrily, blaming Gov. Pataki for not backing their demands.

    "It's now crystal-clear that Gov. George Pataki, the son of a firefighter, does not appreciate what those brave men and women did that day. America's heroes mean nothing to George Pataki," said retired FDNY Lt. John Finucane, who has led a campaign to give special recognition to the rescuers.

    "What the rescuers did is special - they gave their lives."

    Arad had initially proposed letting each family - whether of a civilian or emergency worker - decide how their loved one's name should be displayed.

    He believed the families should decide if the names of friends or co-workers should go together.

    He also proposed letting each family create a special image or phrase to go with the name, expressing the individuality of each victim, sources said.

    But when Mayor Bloomberg reviewed the memorial proposal yesterday, he objected, saying only rescue workers should be singled out, sources said.

    He instead supported the idea of marking the rescuers with the insignia of their department, within a larger, random listing of all the names.

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