Firefighters Disappointed Over Exclusion from 9/11 Ceremony

New York City firefighters said they're disappointed the city isn't making room for them at this Sunday's ceremony honoring the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The mayor's office said due to space constraints at the newly-opened Memorial Plaza, the priority is to accommodate victims' families, and that first responders can gather in neighboring Zuccotti Park.

But the city's firefighters unions aren't happy about those plans.

"Families absolutely, positively need to be invited," Steve Cassidy, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York, said. "But the group after the families would be the first responders who showed up and risked their lives that day."

Cassidy called the city's decision to exclude firefighters outrageous. "We were there on 9/11, we were there in the weeks and months that followed," he said. "We lost 343 brothers. In addition, we've got hundreds and hundreds of firefighters who are sick as a result of their service. And yet, this administration doesn't see fit to invite firefighters who were there that day."

Cassidy added that firefighters are welcome to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the attacks at the Firemen's Memorial at Riverside Park. He expects thousands of firefighters to attend on Sunday. 

Julie Wood, a spokeswoman for the mayor's office, said first responders, including the FDNY, NYPD and PAPD "will be represented at and play an important role" during Sunday's events at the World Trade Center site.

"First responders will open the ceremony by bringing in the WTC flag for the national anthem, an honor guard will remain onstage throughout the entire ceremony, they will ring the ceremonial bell that marks the six moments of silence, and they will close the ceremony with taps," she wrote in an e-mail on Wednesday.

The mayor's office is expected to release details about the events and invited guests on Thursday.

Former President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama will be in attendance.

During an appearance on ABC's The View on Tuesday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg also rattled off a list of local attendees, including himself, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.