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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 MWCerkas (not verified) on
Bloomberg is a puppet, trying to look like he has a mind of his own. The guy seriously must have undergone a lobotomy in the past somewhere. This is ludicrous, censorship, infringement upon free speech, insensitive, arrogant and bigoted. Did I mention I think it is a bad idea?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Bloomberg is not only missing his mind, he's remote-controlled! What a Loser!

Submitted by Oath Keeper (not verified) on
9/11 was an inside job. watch?v=OQgVCj7q49o&list=FLCKPQRPXGdB9OaIjXnBqsaw

Submitted by Dawn Rommel (not verified) on
I’m Not Invited To Ground Zero On 9/11 I strapped a gun to my hip and a badge on my chest and I’m not invited to ground zero on 9/11 I lost my right kidney to cancer and I’m not invited to ground zero on 9/11 My left kidney is at stage III renal failure and I’m not invited to ground zero on 9/11 I lost my thyroid to cancer and I’m not invited to ground zero on 9/11 I suffer from Reactive Airways Dysfunction Syndrome (RADS) and I’m not invited to ground zero on 9/11 I have a lesion on the right side of my brain and I’m not invited to ground zero on 9/11 I suffer from lung scarring, inflammation, atelectasis and I’m not invited to ground zero on 9/11 I suffer from chronic bronchitis, small airway disease, growing lung nodules and I’m not invited to ground zero on 9/11 I suffer from a chronic cough and I’m not invited to ground zero on 9/11 I suffer from sinusitis and rhinitis and I’m not invited to ground zero on 9/11 I am now disabled and have to fight for my benefits and I'm not invited to ground zero on 9/11 I suffer at the hands of our self-serving politicians who invited themselves to ground zero on 9/11 and yet, I’m not invited to ground zero on 9/11 There was one other time I was not invited to ground zero September 11, 2001 Guess it was a good thing myself and thousands of others showed up without an invitation. Sgt. Michael Swannick

Submitted by PhilT (not verified) on
Brilliant comment!

Submitted by Linda Bass (not verified) on
I thank you for being there. I am totally appalled at this insane decision to remove the first responders and prayer from the ceremony. Maybe next time there is a NYC disaster GOD and the FIRST RESPONDERS will not show up. Bloomberg can play GOD and be the only FIRST RESPONDER...let's see how that works out!

Submitted by Richard Teran (not verified) on
Until the PC crowd understands that 911 was a religious statement, we will continue to be in grave danger and our country will continue on this downward spiral.

Submitted by MWCerkas (not verified) on Read it.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Bloomberg wasnt a first responder. He was probably hiding somewhere on 9/11. He should, himself, be banned from the 9/11 remembrance. He's a first-rate MORON who's experienced one too many labotomies and enemas! He should be waterboarded, tarred and feathered and runned out of NY city.


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