Memorial Planners Want Equal Treatment

Although several firefighters are asking for special acknowledgment in the World Trade Center memorial for comrades who died on Sept. 11, the redevelopment agency is likely today to approve a resolution for the memorial to treat each victim equally.

Following an agency meeting with firefighters two weeks ago, the initial resolution opposing any hierarchy in the memorial changed considerably, and today's version will include language about the heroism of Sept. 11 being included in the memorial, sources said.

That's not enough for several active duty and retired firefighters, who plan to attend today's Lower Manhattan Development Corp. meeting wearing their bunker gear, worn to fight fires.

Retired New York City firefighter John Finucane, a member of the Advocates for a 9/11 Fallen Heroes Memorial, wants the memorial to alphabetically list all the names of the firefighters, police officers and "and perhaps" emergency service workers who died in the attack on Sept. 11, 2001, including their rank, badge number and unit, with language to explain their sacrifice.

"All we ask is what is right," said Finucane. "We're fearful that New York will become the state that forgets its heroes."

Notes accompanying the LMDC memorial mission statement said that the memorial should "honor the loss of life equally and the contributions of all without establishing any hierarchies."

Redevelopment agency board member Tom Johnson, who lost his investment banker son in the attack, had asked the board at its March 13 meeting to publicly endorse its opposition to ranking the trade center victims within the memorial.

The vote will not impact the memorial competition, which is set to launch on April 28. The LMDC did not require board approval for the memorial mission statement or guidelines.

"There should be no hierarchy," said Johnson, the president of Greenpoint Bank, speaking on March 13. "How would you determine that? And why would anyone want to?"

After attending this morning's meeting, members of the fallen heroes advocate group will hold a news conference in front of the Ladder 10/Engine 10 firehouse on Liberty Street, across the street from the trade center site, to discuss the outcome of the scheduled memorial vote. The firehouse, which lost four firefighters, was severely damaged in the attack.

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