No Room for First Responders at 9/11 Ceremony

City says it's working on alternatives, but emergency crews feel overlooked
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 17, 2011 7:07 AM CDT
New York City police and firefighters remove the body of a victim during recovery efforts at the World Trade Center in New York in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2011 attacks.   (AP Photo/Stony Brook University, Steve Spak)
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(Newser) – They risked their health and safety in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks, but now officials say some 3,000 first responders will not receive invites to the 10th anniversary ceremony at Ground Zero due to space constraints, reports CNN. The city maintains that the ceremony, which will be attended by two presidents, is for victims' families. "We're working to find ways to recognize and honor first responders, and other groups, at different places and times," says a rep for the mayor's office.

"The best of the best that this country offered 10 years ago are being neglected and denied their rightful place," complains the founder of an advocacy group for emergency crews who worked at Ground Zero. "I'm crying because it's really a big betrayal on the part of the city, to rob me from my way to pay homage and to find that comfort and healing," says one first responder. Other first responders say they believe they are being excluded from the ceremony to keep those suffering from untreated illnesses related to 9/11 out of the spotlight.

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