Shame on you NYC – and the national press

One of the perils of my news ingest habits is that I don’t always catch the breadth of news I used to.  When I read the paper – even a crap paper like my San Francisco Chronicle – I’d see snips of news of a wide nature.  I don’t watch TV news.  CNN headlines – even by RSS – cover the least interesting spread you can imagine.  I have to admit that these days I’m following twitter feeds and about 50 RSS feeds – but most of them are on technology and patent topics:  things that have my fancy at this moment.

So I’m guilty of missing a story that ran weeks ago but played out yesterday.  Firefighters were not invited to the 9/11 Memorial in NYC because ‘there wasn’t enough space.’  Really?  I thought this was a joke of some kind when I heard it yesterday.  Seriously?   I get it, there’s not a lot of space at the memorial site.  Yes, the families must be there.  But it could have been possible to have at least some of the first responders present.  One per firehouse perhaps.  I bet if the Mayor’s office had invited the leadership of the fire department to sit down as part of the planning process a plan could have been worked out.   Instead there was an announcement that “we don’t have room for you, sorry.”  Unbelievable.

I’m not seeing any real national coverage, so maybe this blew over and smarter heads prevailed.  But that it never got the reaction it should have really makes me angry.  All of NYC should have been in the streets demanding Bloomberg respect those brave souls.  All the National Press should have run stories.  Obama himself should have demanded them to be present.  The raw stupidity of even pondering for a second that they would not be front and center…  it’s mind boggling.  There’s no excuse for this not being a MUCH bigger story.

Except that we Americans can be such a fickle lot.  What have you done for me lately?  Oh that?  That was a while ago.

It did not used to be that way.  Once upon a time we held memories.  We cherished them.  We remembered those who risked -and gave – it all.

Here’s the rub:  the firefighters didn’t do anything unusual for them that bright Tuesday ten years ago.  They do that stuff every day and every night.  They rush into flames and mayhem and save lives.   They protect property.  They risk death and lung shredding fumes and crippling injury and disfiguring burns – every day.  They never stopped that behavior.

But apparently the Mayor’s office in NYC stopped remembering.  The lack of massive protests by NYC residents means they may have stopped remembering.  The lack of national press means the US might have stopped remembering.

But not me.  I remember.  And I say to those who forgot:  SHAME ON YOU.  The first responders won’t forget when it comes time to race into a burning building to save you or your kids.  They won’t forget.  Because that’s who they are.  May we all be more like them.




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