By ANNE COHEN and ILANA KOWARSKI
First responders gathered in Brooklyn Sunday to commemorate September 11 after Mayor Michael Bloomberg told them they were not invited to the ceremony at Ground Zero.
One-third of the first responders who died on September 11 lived or worked in Brooklyn, according to the Ebbets Field Wall of Remembrance Foundation. A vigil was held at the Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance at MCU Park in Coney Island to honor these men and women.
The wall was constructed in 2008 as a tribute to first responders who died on Sept. 11, 2001. The granite wall has laser-engraved images of the faces of those who died that day: 346 firefighters; 37 Port Authority officers; 23 New York City police officers; three National Youth Service officers; one fire patrol and one K-9 rescue dog named Sirius.
More than 60 of the victims’ coworkers, friends, and family shared two moments of silence during the vigil Sunday morning — one for each plane that hit the World Trade Center — while the smell of incense pervaded the air. A procession of firefighters in dress uniform stepped up to a podium one by one to read the names of the deceased. It took 40 minutes to read them all. The ceremony ended with a bagpipe rendition of “Amazing Grace,” as firefighters stood in formation, their eyes teary-eyed.
Firefighter Mike McCarthy from Engine 253 said the wall is a place where firefighters can still feel appreciated. “The sad thing is, our mayor doesn’t want us in the city anymore. This is a place where we’re welcome and where we’re really wanted.”
Read more of this article originally published in the Brooklyn Eagle.