The first responders to the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, weren’t stopped by falling buildings and deadly debris. Ten years later, they’re not letting the New York City mayor’s office stop them from trying to attend the tenth anniversary ceremony at Ground Zero.
An explosive petition at Change.org is calling on Mayor Michael Bloomberg to invite the first responders to the ceremony. If he doesn’t, this will be the first year New York City police officers, firemen, and EMS workers are not be allowed to attend.
As of Wednesday morning, the petition had about 1,900 signatures.
When Bloomberg’s office announced the ceremony would be limited to the victims’ families, they cited limited space.
“While we are again focused on accommodating victims’ family members, given the space constraints, we’re working to find ways to recognize and honor first responders, and other groups, at different places and times,” said Bloomberg spokesperson Andrew Brent in a statement.
But Jack Dewan, a fourth generation firefighter whose uncle, Gerard “Gerry” Dewan, lost his life on 9/11 as part of FDNY Ladder Company #3, doesn’t quite buy it.
“I just can’t wrap my head around the idea of why you would keep cops, firefighters, and EMS away,” Dewan told The Daily Caller. “That doesn’t make any sense to me.”
Dewan, who helped launch the petition, told TheDC that to him, it would be like World War II veterans being told they can’t go back to the site of Pearl Harbor.
“Seeing the way we’re being treated, it’s kind of a catch-22 for us,” said Dewan. “And as a 9/11 family member, I can go. I have an invitation.”
“But I just don’t think it’s right that … the guys that were there and survived can’t be there.”
Instead, Dewan will watch the ceremony at the firehouse in Union Square.
When Bloomberg recently appeared on The View to discuss the ceremony, he said, “The bottom line is we only have so much room and the first day is for the families of those who died.”
“We will have a ceremony for the first responders, but you just can’t have everybody … families come first.”
But the first responders and those who have so far signed the petition aren’t letting the mayor off the hook. Not yet.