Below is a message from the Bergen County (NJ) Firemen’s Home Association:
Dear Fellow Firefighter,
As the site of America’s worst terrorist attack in which we lost 343 brother firefighters and thousands of our fellow Americans, Ground Zero in New York City deserves our utmost respect and reverence.
Unfortunately, our national symbol of patriotism–our American flag – is nearly absent from these most historic and hallowed grounds. An inconspicuous single American flag sits atop a mechanical building at the edge of the site, literally pushed to the edge of the 9/11 Memorial. Instead of American flags, the site is filled with a forest of trees. It is clear that the 8 acre site, managed by a private foundation, is becoming more of an urban recreational park instead of the sacred site it actually is.
A recent quote from one of the memorial architects puts this issue in focus:“the memorial sought not just to be a tribute to those who died but also to function as a neighborhood park, ‘where businessmen and women on their lunch break mix with tourists as well as with New Yorkers just enjoying the open space,’ says Handel Architects.” Recent news reports have also highlighted significant problems with visitor behavior at the memorial including throwing trash in the memorial pools, running around, throwing balls, and laughing. This kind of conduct may be acceptable for a typical city park, not the most hallowed grounds in the United States.
The Bergen County Firemen’s Home Association, a group of veteran firefighters which raises funds to support the New Jersey State Firemen’s Home in Boonton, New Jersey, has initiated an effort to bring this problem to the attention of firefighters across New Jersey and the rest of our country. A recent newspaper article highlights these efforts:
We ask that you join us in the call for the placement of a forest of permanent American flags on the site, just like the forest of trees at the site. Please consider signing the White House “We the People” petition in the link below:
Perhaps the presence of the American flag will bring the dignity and respect this consecrated place so desperately needs.
Thank you for joining us in this effort.
Thomas Simpson, Secretary
The Bergen County, New Jersey Firemen’s Home Association