Thursday, July 29, 2010

Editorial: Acknowledging Heroes

A sense of relief and closure after a long-awaited court decision turned bittersweet this week for the family of a retired veteran firefighter who gave his life at the World Trade Center.

On September 11, 2001 Capt. James J. Corrigan was working as the Fire and Life Safety Coordinator of the entire Twin Towers complex. In that capacity he per- sonally led the evacuation from the onsite day care center, guiding some 20 children to safety.

When he finished with that, Capt. Corrigan reported for duty with the FDNY in the South tower. Along with brother firefighters, he tried to establish commu- nication lines to evacuate the FDNY from the towers.

The debate between the city and the Corrigan family lies in the petition to allow Corrigan’s name to appear on the FDNY portion of the Memorial to be built at Ground Zero. His family says Corrigan died as a firefighter FDNY says he was retired.

A law passed in 2002 reinstating Capt. Corrigan to full active employment status should have set any debate to rest but the FDNY has persisted with tiresome ne- gotiations that have resulted in planning to place Capt. Corrigan’s name apart from the Bravest on the Memorial.

This week, Queens Supreme Court Justice Augustus Agate ruled in favor of the petition to include Capt. James J. Corrigan’s name to be etched with the names of his firefighter brothers. After reading the justice’s decision it becomes apparent that there is nothing that would even approach rationale in the denial of this request.

Yet on Tuesday afternoon, Mayor Bloomberg an- nounced his intentions to have the city appeal the court ruling. Even more absurd than the FDNY’s objections to the petition is the contesting of the current ruling by NYC.

Bloomberg says the reason the city will seek to overturn the decision is because the FDNY acted reasonably in this matter, continuing on to say that there was no way for everyone to be happy in this situation. We agree with you there Mr. Bloomberg. You can’t ever make everyone happy but you can always do the right thing.

To the mayor we say that the only people acting without reason in this situation are those who object to having Capt. Corrigan’s name where it belongs. With the other firefighters who lost their lives on that fateful day.

While Capt. James J. Corrigan may have retired from the department, obviously he did not retire his commitment to risk his life for others.

We hope to see his name where it belongs. On the wall of the Memorial yet to be built in the same place as all others who lived as firefighters and died as firefighters.

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