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No Firefighters at Ground Zero Memorial?

First responders were not invited to the Ground Zero memorial, making this mom wonder: Do New York City officials remember that day?

I remember waking up on Sept. 11, 2001.

It was 5:30 a.m. My husband was leaving for work, and I was having my coffee. He turned on the TV to see the Monday Night Football highlights. One plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.

I remember it as if it were yesterday. The visions have never left my thoughts. I remember that afternoon when my mom called me and said my brother, an LAFD captain, was on a bus to go to March Air Force Base to fly out and be a part of the rescue effort. He was heading to what the firefighters in New York at the time called "The Pile." It wasn’t Ground Zero those first few weeks; it was a pile of buildings, furniture, dust, dirt, walls and bodies.

I always worried when my brother was at work. I love him, he is my family and he sometimes does dangerous work. This event was scary—take-your-breath-away scary—and you could tell when you talked to him on the phone when he was in N.Y. that he was scared and exhausted, and emotional. It could have happened in Los Angeles; it could have been 343 LAFD firefighters who lost their lives because 19 monsters decided to hijack airplanes and kill Americans.

My brother, whose wife was pregnant with their third child when he left, did not die on 9/11 or from terrorism. But he did ingest some kind of toxin from the rubble at The Pile that hurt his heart, and at 34 he suffered a heart attack and now has a pacemaker because his heart does not work properly. It was fine until 9/11. He was in NYC last week for some business and sent pictures from Ground Zero. He said it made him very emotional.

So when CNN ran this atrocious story that Mayor Michael Bloomberg basically excluded the heroes of the greatest tragedy our country has ever known, I was upset.

Bloomberg says he will try to have a ceremony at a different time to accommodate first responders. That's like celebrating New Year's Eve on Jan. 3.

The fact that billionaire Bloomberg got away with excluding first responders is sad and atrocious. He made this National Day of Service a travesty, a political who’s who invitational event. It’s all about them and no longer about the Americans who lost their lives. It's a blatant sign of disrespect to those wonderful service people who volunteered and bravely ran upstairs into the burning buildings. It  makes me wonder, with his putrid choice, are we now going to turn this National Day of Service into another reason for retail outlets to have a white sale?

Shripathi Kamath September 14, 2011 at 02:08 AM
Yes, but we can do better. If someone is too big to fail, let's not deify them by gifting them eggplants. Let them buy it. Let's not vote in people without taking the time to understand what they have done. Yes, it is easier going by the party symbol next to their names, but then how would we know why Ms. Reardon and Ms. Schlicht voted against redevelopment, why that might have been a good thing (or a bad thing), and why "because both of them have admirable faith in God, bake pies on July 4th, are pro-citizens, and go to my church" is not A Good Reason to vote for them. (Or against them) Hey, I recommend that everyone read your columns on the city council and sundry politicians, Dan. But I also tell them not to trust you without cross-checking other sources, notably the city of Mission Viejo website, where they can actually hear these people, and then evaluate whether you should be trusted. Some middle-Eastern Jews make an excellent Baba ghanouj with eggplant. So if life gives you eggplants instead of lemons, make Baba ghanouj, and just buy some lemonade
Dan Avery September 14, 2011 at 02:27 AM
Me too. Lightyears away from the 1%; if I weren't such a pain in the butt I'd be totally invisible to everyone else as well. :) Thanks for the offer of eggplant. I have always wanted to have an eggplant-colored linen suit.
Rebecca Goddard September 14, 2011 at 02:32 AM
I don't sew but I make a hell of ep parm.
Dan Avery September 14, 2011 at 02:42 AM
When life gives me lemons I use them as twists for my martinis.
Bretta September 14, 2011 at 05:44 AM
Thank you, Shri; 20 years as a responder - when the firefighters call you out of bed at one AM saying, please, we need you now, this is the situation; you go, even if you cannot wake up enough to comprehend the address. You write it down, pull on your pants, show up and at minus four degrees start barking orders. It amazes me still how I knew what to do, had the command, and that people listened and made it happen. Good people. Time after time. Good stuff. But I don't, and most of us didn't, need ceremonies. Y'all can have them - W-H-A-T-E-V-A-H. .

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