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Religion Banned, First Responders Not Invited To 9/11 Ceremony?

Norman Byrd's picture

New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg is the focus of quite a bit of anger over the memorial service commemorating the September 11 tragedy. It appears that the ceremony is to be areligious, meaning no prayer observances will be held, which has religious communities up in arms. Then there is the matter of the First Responders not being invited at all.

In the finalization of the plans for the ceremony commemorating the tenth anniversary of the September 11 tragedy, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg signed off on the idea that the memorial would be areligious. There would be no religious observances at the ceremony, which, for the first time in its history, will be held at Ground Zero, where the World Trade Center towers stood. Bloomberg also did not invite the city's First Responders, those individuals from the city's police and fired departments that were first on the scene on 9/11 when it was recognized that there had been an horrific incident at the World Trade Center. Both decisions have left the mayor under attack.

No Religion At Ground Zero

Mayor Bloomberg has been targeted by everyone from the average church-goer to the highest ranking religious leaders in America for his proclamation that the ceremony would be kept religion-free. The operative word would be kept, as the previous nine ceremonies involving the 9/11 commemoration were held without religious clerical inclusion as well.

As the controversy mounts, conservative blogs and news outlets have pushed the idea that the decision was made for the tenth anniversary ceremony, that Bloomberg has "banned" both clergy and prayer from the ceremony. However, he has not, simply stating that religious rituals and/or prayers will not be officially observed. Besides, this has always been the policy.

Bill Donohue of the Catholic League observed: “What [the mayor] did is what he often does, which is to make autocratic decisions,” Donahue said. “I don’t think this is something that will sit well with New Yorkers.”

At present, it does not appear that the mayor has any intention of reconsideration.

Family Research Council leader Tony Perkins said that Americans "turned to God for solace" after the tragedy of 9/11and that the clergy were part of the healing process. "At a Ground Zero commemoration for the families of victims, Mayor Bloomberg is allowing the presence of politicians and presidents, but no pastors or prayer. The mayor of course will be there, but politicians weren't then -- and are not now -- nearly enough."

Bloomberg's answer to those calling for reconsideration was summed up in mayoral spokeswoman Evelyn Erskine's offered statement: “There are hundreds of important people that have offered to participate over the last nine years, but the focus remains on the families of the thousands who died on Sept. 11."

First Responders Not Invited to Tenth Anniversary 9/11 Ceremony

Thousands of First Responders, those trained trained to deal with emergency situations that include policemen and firemen, rushed to the aid of their fellow Americans on the day the Twin Towers would ultimately come crashing to the ground. Hundreds would lose their lives trying to save others and in attempting to find survivors among the rubble. They weren't issued an invitation to the tenth anniversary of the tragic event and there are those who wish to take up the issue with the Mayor's Office, according to CNN.

Bloomberg's office insists that the day belongs to the victims of the terrorist attacks. From Bloomberg spokesman Andrew Brent: "While we are again focused on accommodating victims' family members, given the space constraints, we're working to find ways to recognize and honor first responders, and other groups, at different places and times."

But John Feal, founder of an advocacy group for the police officers, firefighters, civilian volunteers and others who worked at Ground Zero does not believe there should be a different places and times. "The best of the best that this country offered 10 years ago are being neglected and denied their rightful place," he told CNN.

As with the matter of religion at the ceremony, the Mayor's Office has noted that there were no official invitation to First Responders at the previous nine September 11 commemorations, either.

The Tenth Anniversary Ceremony at Ground Zero

In an announcement on July 29, Mayor Bloomberg announced the details of the commemoration. He noted that among the dignitaries attending would President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush. Their presence marks the first time a president has attended the ceremony. Joining them will be governors Andrew Cuomo of New York and Chris Christie of New Jersey; George Pataki, who was governor of New York in 2001; and former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, mayor at the time of the terrorist attacks; and Bloomberg.

"Family members only will be allowed to walk onto the plaza, look at their loved ones' names, look down into the voids," he said. The "voids" are reflecting pools in the footprints of the two towers. "The first day, it's reserved for those family members who lost somebody on 9/11."

The day's events are to include the traditional role call of the victims' names, including those who died during the attack on the Pentagon and in the forced plane crash in Pennsylvania. There will also be readings of selected quotes and poetry.

September 11, 2001, saw the most devastating act of terrorism ever carried out when a group of 19 individuals belonging to the al Qaeda organization hijacked four airplanes, flying two into the Twin Towers in New York City, ultimately causing their collapse, and a third into the Pentagon in Washington, D. C. The fourth plane crashed in Pennsylvania when passengers overcame the terrorists and denied them their target, which at present is still unknown.

Officially, 2,606 people were killed on 9/11 in the collapse of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.

At the Pentagon, 125 more lost their lives.

On the four airplanes, 246 passengers and crew personnel were killed.

In addition, 411 emergency workers, including 343 members of the New York Fire Department, would give their lives responding to the tragic developments, themselves becoming victims of the day's devastating events.

(photo credit: Jeffmock, Creative Commons)


Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
"A mountain of fresh evidence confirms that 9/11 was an inside job and this will be presented at the International Hearings on 9/11 in Toronto Canada...." Google it: Armed SWAT Raids Confirm 9/11 Criminal Hearings Necessary

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
I'm sorry, but I think Mr. Bloomberg is missing the point. First Responders were victims of these attacks. First, many lost their lives, thus their families should be front and center under Bloomburg's reasoning. Second, those first responders who survived are suffering not only medical fallout from exposure to toxic chemicals, but also are left with the horriffic memories of the aftermath of the attacks. Does that not qualify them as "victims"?? When you think about it, every American who gives a rip about our way of life is a victim of this thuggery. But since we can't all fit in this venue, let's at least honor all the victims who were there at the time and are still with us. Crikes!

Submitted by rosehaft (not verified) on
Families of victims who are going to the 10th anniversary memorial should stop first at their local police & fire departments to 'adopt' a family member to accompany them.

Submitted by Carol from L.I. (not verified) on
Well I see now that all of the families in the different boroughs and counties have taken it upon themselves to have their own cerimonies and prayer services just as they should. If they should still desire to attend the service at ground zero, well they have had their spiritual devotions now in spite of Bloomberg. The most important thing is that the lost are never forgotten no matter how it's done in Bloomberg's world so we honor all of the deceased and ill and you truely will never be forgotten. And the terrorists have no glory at all in this......they thought someone said 13 virgins.....but now they are finding it's only 13 vegans...Oh well.... ")

Submitted by jackie pate (not verified) on
had americans not excluded God from everthing this might not have happened God used anti christians to bring judgement to america and the president bush get on tv and ask that we pray for those family members that lost loved ones while this country continualy goes away from God we are a country that sayes it is legal to kill umborn babys and same sex marriage is ok that is chose no wonder we are in the recession that we are in no wonder muslims attacked the twin towers on 9-11 no wonder we are seeing things happen that has never been seen before scripture says that if my people which are called by my name shall trun from there wicked ways humble themselves and seek my then He will here our prayers and heal our land no wonder fea


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