They were the first on the scene and now they’re the last ones on the guest list – and that’s if they even get invited. First responders that risked their lives are being told there is no room for them at next month’s 9/11 ceremony.
Around 3,000 first responders that were among the earliest to report to New York City’s Twin Towers on September 11, 2001 are being excluded from the tenth anniversary ceremony next month due to space constraints. “We’re working to find ways to recognize and honor first responders, and other groups, at different places and times,” a representative for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg tells CNN.
Both President Barack Obama and former President George W Bush are expected to attend next month’s ceremony that will honor those that lost their lives during the attacks. First responders, many suffering grave injuries from the catastrophe a decade later, are wondering why no invites were issued their way, however.
“I’m absolutely disgusted,” retired NYPD cop Anthony Flammina tells Fox News. He says that it would be easy to make space for the first responders but instead says that officials are showing “a total disrespect.”
“The best of the best that this country offered 10 years ago are being neglected and denied their rightful place,” harps John Feal to CNN. Feal was a first responder himself and has since founded an advocacy group for those that risked their lives that September morning.
Some first responders say the decision to exclude them from the ceremony is only adding insult to injury as they continue to fight for coverage for illnesses obtained during September 11. Last month the National Institute for Occupation Safety and Health decided that first responders suffering from cancer would not be covered under federal aid for 9/11 victims, citing “insufficient evidence” linking the terror attacks to diseases.
At that time, James Zadroga of the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act responded that he was confident that studies “will ultimately provide the scientific evidence” to link the influx in cancer with first responders on the scene at the World Trade Center.