As Giants parade down Canyon of Heroes, veterans and 9/11 first responders ask to march, too
New Yorkers might consider them heroes, but one 9/11 responder says he just wants to march down the “Canyon of Heroes.”
Thousands thronged Lower Manhattan today to celebrate the Giants’ Super Bowl win, but to some, it was a reminder that they have not had the same honor.
“If you’re calling me a hero, why can’t I walk down the ‘Canyon of Heroes?’” said Bay Ridge resident T.J. Gilmartin, who cleared away wrecked fire trucks at Ground Zero and said he applied to organize a parade for 9/11 responders.
The NYPD denied his request, but another officer suggested trying again, he said, and he applied a second time in January.
“I got no problem giving the Giants a parade,” he said, adding that he’s a fan. “But you know what, give us ours.”
Also hoping for their own trip down the “Canyon of Heroes” are Iraq veterans, who former mayor Edward Koch told The New York Times should get a parade.
Council Speaker Christine Quinn also spoke out on the issue, saying last week, “A citywide celebration recognizing the incredible contribution these soldiers have made in the name of freedom is in order.”
Members of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America said they requested a meeting with the mayor and are waiting for a response.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Department of Defense officials warned a celebration would be premature and noted that soldiers are still fighting in Afghanistan.
“Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Dempsey, Army Secretary McHugh and Army Chief of Staff General Odierno have made it clear that a parade would be premature while so many troops are still in harm’s way around the world,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “This is wise counsel and the safety of our brave men and women overseas dictates that we in the City follow it.”