Clarification of Recognition of 9/11's Fallen Heroes at the National September Eleventh Memorial and Museum

In some of the developements for the National September Eleventh Museum and Memorial being built near Ground Zero, concerns arose that the fallen members would not be properly recognized, their department and rank not recognized. A little more than a year ago I personally met a representative of the committee for this Memorial. What I learned is there are so many details being addressed to make it a fitting memorial for all and a learning experience for future generations. With the recent concerns raise, The National September Eleventh Museum and Memorial has issued this clarification. I received permission to post it here. I'm not a fire fighter. But I believe this is a fitting response and shows they will properly recognize each member of each agency and their rank will be known and their company or precinct also recognized. Further contact information is included. Please read.

Dear FDNY families and friends,

I am writing at the request of members of the FDNY who have asked for clarification on how the names will be arranged at the National September 11 Memorial. While I would hope this would go without saying, I want to personally express that honoring the memory of the FDNY and other first responders at the Memorial and preserving the history of their rescue and response efforts within the Museum are core to our mission.

The purpose of this letter is to express clearly how First Responders are being recognized on the Memorial and what steps have been taken in light of the valid concerns of members of the first responder community. I am fully aware that the decision not to include ranks of first responders continues to be an issue for many families of first responders and those that either have served or actively serve today. At that same time, it would be a disservice not to reiterate what is being done in light of these concerns.

It's important to note that prior to the final December 2006 decision, the names on the 9/11 Memorial were going to be listed randomly - in no discernable order, with no headings or delineations. The final arrangement (arrived at in Dec. 2006) reflects a compromise that strikes a balance between the initial Memorial design that won the Memorial competition and the opinions voiced by family members of first responders.

The steps that have been taken are to:

· List the names of all first responders together following an inscribed "FIRST RESPONDERS" heading

· List the names of all members of a particular first responder agency together following inscribed agency headings - e.g., "FDNY" will be on the Memorial

· List the names of all members of specific units together following specific inscribed unit headings - e.g., "LADDER 10" will be on the Memorial, and all of its members listed together

In recognition of the heroism first responders displayed, knowingly going into harm's way to help save so many people on 9/11, a dedicated section of the Memorial will list their names together under these headings. In addition, the units will be arranged in such a way that will allow the names FDNY victims who were related or shared close friendships with colleagues to be listed side by side.

As mentioned, I am aware that this final decision on the names arrangement does not satisfy everyone, and that some continue to believe the arrangement should be handled in other ways, whether that be alphabetically instead of by agency and units, or to add victims' ranks and titles to the inscriptions. As reflected by the many different treatments employed at other memorials across the country, there is no right answer to the difficult question of how to do this. Interestingly, the largest national memorial that lists individuals in the United States is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in D.C.; that memorial does not include ranks of the soldiers who fought and died in that war. Many memorials to fire fighters do not list ranks, including the IAFF Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial in Colorado Springs and the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg, Maryland. The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. also does not list ranks. I will say anecdotally that the concern most often voiced about the original names arrangement was that first responders should be listed together, within their agencies and units, and as I hope everyone now understands the final decision on the arrangement rightly and appropriately addresses that.

I also want to express again that the story of each and every member of the FDNY who perished on 9/11 will be a crucial and integral part of the Museum, including within a special Memorial exhibition that will individually honor their lives through photographs, audio recordings, and personal mementoes. Information about each of the victims will include rank, age, employer, and any other information provided to us by family members or friends. You can find more information about the Memorial Exhibition and how to participate in its creation on our website at

Please feel free to contact the Memorial staff with any questions
1-877-671-1636 or - we will respond with answers to your questions.

Warm regards,


Joseph Daniels
National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center

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