The Mayor, The President, & 9/11
On September 12th, 2001, around 3AM, Wendy Pelligrino
could stand it no longer. She found herself wandering
through her Staten Island, New York neighborhood,
tying red, white, and blue ribbons on the trees.
She then took two candles and her hand-made
“God Bless Our Heroes” sign, to an untended,
soil laden traffic island. On her next trip she planted
sixteen small American flags. After a neighbor left a
photo of a missing fireman he’d known as a boy, there
was no turning back. More photos followed. Wendy
Pelligrino’s make-shift memorial still stands today.
With the help of neighborhood volunteers, the great
generosity of local small business and considerable
monetary commitment from Pelligrino herself, the once
barren traffic island is now known worldwide as
“Angel’s Circle”, a unique “neighborhood” memorial to the
victims of the World Trade Center attacks.
Though it’s attracted visitors from as far away as Japan
and Australia, Angel’s Circle primarily honors Staten
Islanders, many whom were never recovered. “It’ keeps
us going”, retiree Simone Esposito has told more
than one reporter. He’d know. He lost his son Michael,
and nephew Frank, both firefighters on that fateful day.
Through tears of anger and sadness, many vowed to
“never forget” 9/11. Wendy Pelligrino, those who’ve
helped her, and still help hermaintain Angel’s Circle,
have chosen instead to ensure that the people of
Staten Island “always remember” those who were
victimized that day.
Among those who’ll be remembering on this 10th
anniversary at the former site of the World Trade
Center, will be President Obama, and New York Mayor
Michael Bloomberg, two of the strongest supporters
of the proposed Mosque/Islamic Cultural Center that’s
been so controversial because of it’s close proximity
(2 blocks) to the 9/11 murders.
Both men have argued that those wishing to build
this Mosque/Center have a perfect right to do so. But
that’s not the point. For once, we Americans who still
possess “common sense”, are asking for what ardent
“Progressives” like Obama and Bloomberg are always
demanding from the rest of us; “cultural sensitivity”.
Bloomberg’s commitment to “cultural sensitivity” seems
to have ended when he banned any religious observance
or prayers during the 10th Anniversary event he’ll be
attending this Sunday. The mayor believes this would
detract from focusing on the families of the victims.
This policy stands in stark contrast to the inclusive
ecumenical service held in Yankee Stadium with the blessing
of Mayor Giuliani while the Twin Towers were still smoldering.
A service which incidentally included representatives of Islam.
Bloomberg has also excluded WTC first responders from
the official ceremony, citing security reasons. Why would
these selfless people who know first-hand, the horrors
of 9/11 more than anyone, be relegated to an unofficial
observance, where all, will of course be welcomed.
Call me naive, but wouldn’t it be more thoughtful for the
official observance to include “only” the families and first
responders ? Why not let “them” decide which members of
the clergy they’d like to be there. Let the politicians get
their “photo ops” with the locals who want to mark that
day, at a more public venue !!
Although Citi Field will showcase the Mets & Cubs on
September 11th, the Yankees are in California. So
Yankee Stadium would have been available for a more
public ceremony for those not directly effected on 9/11.
Had the Mayor not been so preoccupied being the chief
lobbyist for Park 51, the developers of the proposed
Ground Zero Mosque and Islamic Center, maybe he
would’ve had time to consider the security concerns
of that option !!
In addition to sending a letter of recommendation to the
community board on behalf of Park 51, the Mayor has
adamantly defended his pro-Mosque support whenever
necessary. Even after it was discovered that some Mosque
investors might have had ties to a group that isn’t exactly
a big fan of the “American Way”, the Mayor was
condescendingly dismissive. No security worries here ….
In the true spirit of “cultural diversity” Park 51, encouraged
by Mayor Bloomberg, has been allowed to apply for a
“$5 MILLION” dollar grant with the Lower Manhattan
Development Corporation, (LMDC) seeking aid for their
“Ground Zero Mosque” project. These U.S. TAXPAYER funds
were ironically earmarked to facilitate the rebuilding of lower
Manhattan after the 9-11 attacks. Strangely, the Park 51
application was not immediately denied because after all,
an Islamic Center no doubt supports and propagates
religious beliefs. In this instance, there seems to be no
concern for the separation of church and state.
Oddly, St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, which once stood
across from the World Trade Center, has not been afforded
the same “cultural sensitivity”. For nine years, Port Authority of
New York/New Jersey has “bureaucratically stonewalled” that
assembly’s efforts to rebuild on it’s original site, even though
it’s small, dedicated congregation has already raised $4 MILLION
dollars on their own for just that purpose. They’ll be needing
it. They’ve been forced to file a lawsuit against Port Authority
of New York/New Jersey to get the approval to rebuild on the
same site where they’ve held services since 1922.
To be fair, Mayor Bloomberg doesn’t have any jurisdiction over
Port Authority. They report to the governor. But as a three term
mayor, and resident billionaire, Bloomberg hasn’t hesitated to
wield his influence in the past. So why fast track the building of
a mosque before restoring a New York City landmark ?
As the only “house of worship” destroyed on 9/11, wouldn’t
supporting this committed congregations efforts be excellent
PR for this once popular Mayor ? Perhaps a letter ?
Help St. Nicholas Church….
As for the usually unflappable, “cool as a cucumber” President
Obama, the controversy over the “Ground Zero Mosque” seems
to have him a wee bit more annoyed than usual …..
Such sentiments from our President, aren’t exactly surprising.
Seems he had no trouble having U.S. taxpayers fund a “missions
trip” for Imam Faizel Abdul Rauf, the spokesman for the “Ground
Zero Mosque”. He’d no doubt invoke his commitment to
“cultural sensitivity”, were anyone to question this. He’s
obviously “quite okay” with tax-paying “schlubs” ensuring the
Imam traveled in style throughout the Middle East in order to
“increase understanding of American Islam”, and to help raise
the $100 million allegedly required to fund the Park 51 project.
According to the U.S. State Department’s, P.J. Crowley, U.S.
TAXPAYERS have funded three such “missions trips” for this
“distinguished cleric”. Currently, there’s no word on when
Hillary Clinton’s State Department will be bankrolling any
“missions trips for St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church.
Maybe if they weren’t so, “religious” ?
Greek Orthodox, Baptist, Mormon, Hindu, Sikh, Baha’i, it
wouldn’t matter !! In his book, “The Audacity of Hope”,
Barack Obama actually told us just where his allegiance lies …..
“I will stand with them (Muslims & Arab Immigrants) should the
political winds shift in an ugly direction” — page 261
So the question is, will it really matter what Mayor Bloomberg,
or President Obama decide to say at any of the 9-11 events
they’ll be speaking at this Sunday ?? Will anyone even believe
them ?? Why should they ?? Their actions and words honestly
convey they really don’t give a damn ?
Those who truly wish to honor 9/11?s victims on this Tenth
Anniversary, would be better served seeking solace in almost
any regular house of worship this weekend. Or, might I recommend
a moment of solemn silence, any old time where Fingerboard Road
meets Hylan Boulevard, on Staten Island. Because there, they
“always remember”. And you know for a fact, they give a damn.