New York Hundreds of firefighters rallied near ground zero Wednesday to demand that Gov. George Pataki give special recognition to uniformed officers in a memorial to victims of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.
"They ask me the difference between my brother and other people who died that day (Sept. 11)," said John Mascali, whose firefighter brother, Joseph, died in the attack. "Other people lost their lives. My brother gave his life."
A firefighters' group, Advocates for a 9-11 Fallen Heroes Memorial, wants special recognition for the hundreds of New York firefighters, police and emergency service workers killed on Sept. 11, 2001.
But the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., which was created to oversee the rebuilding of the area and is holding a memorial design competition, plans one memorial with no hierarchy of victims. Families of killed civilians also have turned away from the idea.
Firefighters say the special designation would not devalue anyone killed at the site but would distinguish the rescuers from civilians.
Development corporation interim President Kevin Rampe told the crowd that the memorial would recognize each of the 2,792 people killed in the 2001 attack and the six killed in the twin towers' 1993 bombing.
He said the way in which victims will be recognized hasn't been set "because a memorial has not been conceived," he said. But "rest assured, no one will be forgotten."
The design for the memorial will be selected this fall.