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9/11 First Responders Frown on Exclusion from 10th Anniversary

One week after the city’s announcement that 9/11 first responders will not be invited to the 10th anniversary ceremony, firefighters, paramedics, and other volunteers continued to voice their anger, disappointment.

Retired paramedic, Mike Miller, of the financial district said: “this is a total disrespect, we risked our lives and some of us still suffer from those injuries.”

Indeed, countless first responders sustained varying degrees of injuries. With the recent denial of federal funding to them this late July, many see this exclusion from the ceremony as evidence that the city is attempting to push to the background their untreated ailments.

The city has promised to hold a ceremony at a later date to honor the 91,000 or so first responders and volunteers who helped in the preliminary search and rescue efforts and the subsequent cleanup in the ensuing 10 months.

But many expressed hesitance to attend. “It just doesn’t mean as much, it means less if it’s not on Sept. 11th, and this doesn’ t change the fact that we were not invited to the actual ceremony,” said Katie Jarvez, a first responder from lower Manhattan. “If we went to the ceremony, the slogan ‘we’ll never forget’ will be totally ridiculous because the government did not take care of us,” said Cindy Gonzalez, a volunteer from Brooklyn.

The office of Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced last week that given the space constraints, they had to focus on accommodating victims’ family members first at the 10-year anniversary ceremony.