Who—especially on the 10th anniversary of their sacrifice—would deny the first responders their due and proper honor? New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. His office says that because of the number of victims’ family members attending there’s not enough room to accommodate first responders at Ground Zero that day, though “we’re working to find ways to recognize and honor first responders, and other groups, at different places and times.” Different places and times?
When President Obama, after the killing of Osama bin Laden, visited New York City, he stopped by a Times Square firehouse that lost 15 men. Why did he do that? Later that day I had the opportunity to meet the president. I showed him a photo of my brother, FDNY Capt. Billy Burke, Engine Co. 21, who perished in the North Tower after refusing to leave the side of Ed Beyea, a computer programmer and wheelchair-bound quadriplegic. “I feel that the Navy Seals walked in the steps of my brother and all the other first responders of 9/11,” I told him.
“That is just what I told the firefighters this morning,” he replied.
The firemen, being who they are, would never complain or bring attention to themselves. I, however, am not a fireman. Just the son of one and the brother of another. To deny the firefighters and our first responders—these most humble and dedicated servants of New York—the opportunity to honor, at Ground Zero on 9/11, their lost brothers and sisters is atrocious.