NYC September 11 Commemoration

Nation Pauses to Remember the Fallen

Solemn ceremonies and changes as the country mourns those killed in Sept. 11 attack
A firefighter at Engine Company 10 and Ladder Company 10 puts on his gear as a call comes into his firehouse adjacent to the World Trade Center, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014 in New York. Three hundred forty three New York firefighters were killed in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Published Thursday, September 11, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) — A solemn reading of the names. Moments of silence to mark the precise times of tragedy. Stifled sobs of those still mourning.

As the nation pauses Thursday to mark the thirteenth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attack, little about the annual ceremony at ground zero has changed. But so much around it has.

FRM/FFN: FDNY Adds More to List of Fallen from WTC Illnesses

For the first time, the National September 11 Museum — which includes gut-wrenching artifacts and graphic photos of the attacks — will be open on the anniversary. Fences around the memorial plaza have come down, integrating the sacred site more fully with the streets of Manhattan while completely opening it up to the public and camera-wielding tourists.

A new mayor is in office, Bill de Blasio, one far less linked to the attacks and their aftermath than his immediate predecessors. And finally, a nearly completed One World Trade Center has risen 1,776 feet above ground zero and will be filled with office workers by this date in 2015, another sign that a page in the city's history may be turning.

For some who lost loved ones in the attacks, the increasing feel of a return to normalcy in the area threatens to obscure the tragedy that took place there and interfere with their grief.

"Instead of a quiet place of reflection, it's where kids are running around," said Nancy Nee, whose firefighter brother, George Cain, was killed in the attacks. "Some people forget this is a cemetery. I would never go to the Holocaust museum and take a selfie."

But for others, the changes are an important part of the healing process.

"When I first saw (One World Trade Center), it really made my heart sing," said Debra Burlingame, whose brother Charles Burlingame was the pilot of the plane that crashed into the Pentagon. "It does every time I see it because it's so symbolic of what the country went through."

"I want to see it bustling," she said. "I want to see more housing down there; I want to see it alive and bursting with businesses."

As happens annually, family members of those killed in the attacks will gather Thursday morning to read the names of the deceased, pausing the sad roll call only four times: to mark the times when the first plane struck the World Trade Center, when the second plane struck, when the first tower fell and when the second tower fell.

The memorial plaza will be closed to the public for most of the day and available only to family members. It will reopen at 6 p.m., at which point thousands of New Yorkers are expected to mark the anniversary at the twin reflecting pools where the towers once stood.

In May, when the museum opened in a ceremony attended by President Barack Obama, the fences that had surrounded the plaza for years disappeared, as did the need for visitors to obtain a timed ticket. Now, thousands of people freely visit every day, from cellphone-toting travelers to workers on a lunch break, and those crowds will only swell further this year when One World Trade Center finally opens.

"The memorial and museum is extremely important to those impacted on 9/11," said Mary Fetchet, whose son died in the attacks. "And surrounding that memorial, lower Manhattan has been revitalized."

The first ceremony at the site was held six months after the Twin Towers fell and was organized by then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his aides. Bloomberg, who took office just three months after the attacks, remained in charge, acting as the master of ceremonies for the next decade.

After other elected officials attempted to gain a larger role at the solemn event, in 2012, all politicians — including Bloomberg — were prohibited from speaking at the event. That remains the case now, as de Blasio, who took office in January, agreed to let the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center Foundation organize the commemoration ceremony. Bloomberg is the foundation's chairman.

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Bronx Three-Alarm Fire

Three Dead in Queens Apartment Fire, Murder-Suicide

Family members found inside apartment each with stab wounds
Published Wednesday, September 10, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) — Authorities say three members of a family found dead with stab wounds inside a burning New York City apartment were killed in an apparent murder suicide.

The blaze broke out at 4:50 a.m. Tuesday inside a sixth-floor apartment in Queens.

Police say the victims — a 50-year-old man, his 54-year-old wife and their 15-year-old son — all were found near the entrance.

The medical examiner's office will determine the cause of death. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Three firefighters suffered minor injuries.

Authorities say the fire was confined to the apartment. It was brought under control before 5:30 a.m.

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Survivors, Families Donate Memorabilia to National Sept.11 Museum and Memorial

Victims’ families, survivors and rescuers come forward with items for 9/11 Museum
In this Sept. 5, 2014 photo provided by the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, a detail of the fatigue shirt showing an American flag emblem which worn by the U.S. Navy SEAL during the mission to capture Osama bin Laden, is seen in a case at the museum in New York. The shirt and other items from the raid will be introduced to the public on Sunday, Sept. 7.(AP Photo/National September 11 Memorial and Museum, Jin Lee)
Published Wednesday, September 10, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) — After seeing the new National September 11 Memorial Museum, one victim's widow decided to donate one of her husband's FDNY paramedic shirts, karate uniforms and beloved baseball jersey.

A retired police detective gave the sole-scorched boots she wore while working amid the smoking wreckage of the twin towers.

A survivor contributed her World Trade Center worker ID, dust-coated clothes and the high-heeled shoes she shed going down 87 flights of stairs to safety, items she'd kept boxed in a basement for 13 years.

"I didn't think that this would be anything they would want," said JoAnne "JoJo" Capestro, the finance worker who gave her clothing. "But once I went in there, and I saw, I said, 'My clothes belong there.' ... I wanted to share it with people. I wanted them to see."

Since the museum's May opening, victims' families, survivors, rescue workers and others have come forward to add about 135 new gifts to its collection, chief curator Jan Seidler Ramirez said.

FRM/FFN: 9/11 Museum Described as Monument to Resilience

Relatives have brought new photos or recorded new remembrances to profiles of the nearly 3,000 victims. Others have added to the wallets, helmets, and other personal effects in a collection that looks at the terrorist attacks through the lens of individual lives.

A Federal Aviation Administration worker's hard hat now speaks to his agency's contributions to the recovery effort. Commemorative golf balls from the delayed September 2001 Ryder Cup golf tournament help demonstrate how the world stood still after the attacks.

Two compelling reminders of the long manhunt that followed 9/11 went on display Sunday: a Navy SEAL's uniform shirt from the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, and a CIA officer's special coin commemorating the operation.

With the National Sept. 11 Memorial Museum now visibly "occupying, in real space, leadership of this important national story, when people have items, they want that to be a part of that," President Joe Daniels said.

The museum anticipated and welcomes growth in its collection of over 39,000 objects, photos and oral histories, and officials see the new donations as a vote of confidence. The institution trod a difficult path to opening, facing delays and controversy. Some victims' relatives still bitterly oppose it as more tourist attraction than tribute.

Some new donors to the Sept. 11 museum hadn't realized everyday possessions could be museum exhibits. Others weren't ready earlier to part with the artifacts or wanted to view the museum before entrusting it with cherished, if wrenching, mementoes.

Neil Matthew Dollard's relatives talked for years about donating the few possessions authorities found after the bond broker died at the trade center. But the family held off until visiting the museum.

"We were waiting to see what the museum looked like" and how it handled people's possessions, said one of his sisters, Megan Fajardo. Finding the displays tasteful, the relatives decided to contribute the items: his wallet, cards he carried, and pocket change.

"When we're gone, it needs to be somewhere where it can be seen, where it will be safe," Fajardo said. "That's where he died."

After getting home from the debris pile at ground zero after 9/11, Detective Carol Orazem peeled off her battered, hosed-down boots and eventually put them in the attic. There they stayed until she saw another first responder's awe at spotting his own helmet on display in the museum.

"What am I going to do with these boots? They're just sitting here, and they depress me to look at," the now-retired detective asked herself. Now, at the museum, "I know that they're taken care of."

Still, it was strangely hard to let go of her piece of Sept. 11 history, she says. So does Capestro.

"It was bittersweet," Capestro said, "but it makes me feel good.

"I feel like I'm giving back. Because God saved me that day."


Associated Press writer Rachelle Blidner contributed to this report.


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New York Lawmakers Call for Reauthorization of 9/11 Compensation Act

Officials point to medical studies to renew Zadroga Act for more then 25 years
JONATHAN LEMIRE, Associated Press Published Monday, September 8, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) — Days before the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, elected officials from New York called on Congress to reauthorize federal legislation to compensate first responders who became ill working at ground zero.

On Monday, standing in the shadow of the nearly completed One World Trade Center, Democratic U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand led the bipartisan push to renew the Zadroga Act, which provides medical treatment and compensation for the workers.

The two main components of the law are set to expire in 2015 and 2016.

"For Congress to not continue to fulfill its undeniable moral obligation by reauthorizing these programs ... our government will have turned its back on these heroes," Gillibrand said. "That's not who we are as Americans."

The Zadroga Act, named after a responder who died after working at ground zero, became law in 2010. Its two components — a victims compensation fund and a medical treatment fund — have paid out more than $1.1 billion.

The elected officials, who pointed to medical studies that link a variety of illnesses and cancers to the toxins spread by the World Trade Center collapse, said Monday that they want to reauthorize it for 25 more years.

"We cannot allow it to be said that in 13 years, that's how long we remembered 9/11," Democratic U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler said. "We cannot allow that to be said. It would be a moral stain on this generation and on the United States."

The original bill was whittled down from $7.4 billion to $4.3 billion and passed after years of debate. Those who opposed the bill said they doubted the science behind the links between cancers and ground zero and suggested that police and firefighters already had enough health care coverage.

The elected officials said they didn't know how much the reauthorization would cost but stressed that it was imperative for the bill to pass the Democrat-controlled Senate and the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

"This is not a Republican issue. This is not a Democratic issue. This is an American issue," said Republican U.S. Rep. Peter King. "We have an obligation as Americans to provide them with the health care that they need, the families the compensation that they need."

The new bills are expected to be introduced in both houses of Congress this month.

"This should not be a debate," said Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat. "This should be simply a march to action to help those in need."

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Former FDNY Firefighter Turned Actor Produces Documentary

Steve Buscemi tells CBS about firefighting and his FDNY documentary
Actor Steve Buscemi spent four years as a firefighter with the New York City Fire Department before becoming an actor full-time. (CBS Sunday Morning photo)
Published Monday, September 8, 2014

Celebrated actor Steve Buscemi spent four years as a firefighter with the New York City Fire Department before becoming an actor full-time. And while acting has made him a household name, the lessons he learned as a firefighter and his ongoing efforts to help firefighters is his passion, as he tells Tracy Smith in an interview for CBS SUNDAY MORNING WITH CHARLES OSGOOD on the CBS television Network.

Buscemi joined the FDNY in 1980 and was assigned to Engine 55 in lower Manhattan. The star of HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” highlights the work of firefighters and the struggles they face in a new documentary he’s produced and appears in called “A Good Job: Stories of the FDNY.”

“Firefighters are great at helping others,” Buscemi tells Smith. “They're great at helping each other. But they're not always – you know, they don't always know that they, themselves, are in need, you know?  Their first reaction would be, ‘Oh, the next guy has it worse, you know?  It was nothing, you know, that I went through. It wasn't just that bad. But that guy?  Oh, that family, you know?  They had it worse.  So what right do I have to seek any kind of help?’”

Raised on Long Island, N.Y., Buscemi (who, by the way, pronounces his name “boo-SEMMY”) always wanted to be an actor, but was pushed by his father to take a civil service exam. He took the firefighter test and worked at Engine 55, auditioning for acting roles in his spare time. He gave up firefighting four years later to pursue acting full-time. His fellow firefighters thought he was crazy because “nobody leaves this job,” Buscemi says. “You just don’t – you don’t leave – first of all, a great job like this, and then a secure job.”

But acting has certainly paid off greatly for Buscemi, who has carved out a remarkable career playing a series of memorable, off-beat characters in films like “Fargo,” “Con Air,” “Reservoir Dogs” and “The Big Lebowski.”

His love of firefighting, though, never left him. Indeed, a day after terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in 2001, Buscemi put on his old firefighting gear and pitched in at Ground Zero. The scene of the attacks was confusing and disconcerting, he says.

“It was also – there was something about being there that was also very comforting, and I remember that surprising me,” Buscemi tells Smith. “I went there to help, but I was the one who was – who was helped, you know? It really helped me.”

Buscemi talks with Smith about his acting choices and his unique image. Smith also talks with Buscemi’s wife, artist Jo Andres, whom he met while still at Engine 55.

CBS SUNDAY MORNING is broadcast Sundays (9:00-10:30 AM, ET) on the CBS Television Network. Rand Morrison is the executive producer.

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Fire Destroys Three New York Homes

Three homes destroyed and a fourth damaged after Niagara Falls blaze
MATT GRYTA, The Buffalo News Published Monday, September 8, 2014

NIAGARA FALLS - Three two-story homes were destroyed, six adults and five children had to be given temporary residences by the Red Cross, and an adult pit bull and a pit bull puppy were killed in a fire Friday afternoon on Seventh Street between Niagara and Ferry streets.

Niagara Falls Fire Chief Thomas Colangelo, who was at the scene for hours after the fires were called in at about 1:30 p.m., said the three buildings would be demolished Friday night.

Well into the evening, a ladder truck kept pouring water on hot spots, mainly on the middle house at 440 Seventh. The other homes are 438 and 442 Seventh.

The cause of the fire is unlikely to be determined and total damage assessed until after demolition is completed sometime today, Colangelo said.

The fire chief said 28 men from all six of the city's fire stations were put to work on the fire.

He said the three buildings were "fully engulfed" by the time the first of the fire trucks arrived at about 1:30 p.m. Firefighters were told there might still be one man on the third-floor attic of 442 Seventh, the building where the two dogs owned by an elderly woman died, but when the attic was searched, no one was found there, the chief said.

No one was injured.

Colangelo said several firefighters were affected by the day's high temperatures but were able to remain at the scene after drinking water.

A woman and man who lived near the site of the three affected buildings said that an explosion was heard shortly after 1 p.m. at the rear of 440 Seventh St. Neither would disclose their names and declined to comment further.

Niagara Falls police patrol cruisers blocked all traffic onto Seventh Street between Niagara and Ferry streets from the early afternoon and were expected to remain on the scene until well into the early morning hours.

September 6, 2014

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Fire Destroys Three New York Homes

Sept. 11 Memorial Open to Public on Anniversary

Ceremony will be the first time public can visit the site on the day of the anniversary
This May 8, 2014 file photo shows people touching the engraved name of a victim of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York. The memorial has been visited by nearly 15 million people since it opened three years ago on the footprints of the twin towers. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
Published Friday, August 29, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) — The Sept. 11 memorial plaza will be open on the night of the attacks' anniversary this year, marking the first time the general public will be able to visit ground zero on the commemoration date.

The plaza will be closed to the public during the remembrance ceremony and much of the rest of the day, but it will open from 6 p.m. to midnight for those who want to pay respects and view one of the most evocative observances — the twin beams called the Tribute in Light — from an especially "meaningful vantage point," memorial President Joe Daniels said in an email Thursday to victims' families.

A symbolic shift for a site that was inaccessible to the public for years after the attacks, the plan reflects its increasing openness as more gets rebuilt.

The memorial plaza, with its massive reflecting pools etched with the names of the dead, opened in 2011. But to control crowds amid construction elsewhere on the World Trade Center property, tickets and security screening were required until this spring. Since the ticketed, underground memorial museum opened in May, open access has been allowed during days and evenings at the plaza, which joins the streetscape of lower Manhattan even as it serves as a place of remembrance protected by police and security guards. Museum officials said that security measures would be in place for the public hours on Sept. 11 but that they couldn't disclose details.

The night hours on Sept. 11 will provide visitors a solemn setting for looking at the Tribute in Light, which first appeared on March 11, 2002, to mark the six months that had passed since the attacks. It has become a moving, quietly powerful element of the anniversaries since.

It shines from a roof near the trade center, traditionally from sunset to dawn. Formed from 88 powerful bulbs positioned into two squares that echo the fallen Twin Towers, the light memorial reaches four miles skyward, according to the Municipal Art Society, a nonprofit group that orchestrates the $500,000-a-year project.

The museum will be closed to the public throughout the day.

The private anniversary ceremony will be held on the plaza in the morning, a tribute that has centered on reading of the names of the nearly 3,000 people killed in New York, at the Pentagon and near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, in the 2001 attacks, as well as recognizing the six people killed in the 1993 trade center bombing.

"Of course, remembering those we lost is something we do each and every day," Daniels noted in his message Thursday.


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