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The south pool waterfall at the World Trade Center site.


The upcoming 10th anniversary commemoration of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks could be the last time the names of the 2,753 World Trade Center victims are read aloud.

Eighteen Filipinos and Filipino-Americans perished in the Twin Towers collapse, while three more were killed on the jetliners crashed by the terrorists in New York and Pennsylvania.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the decision to scrap the name-reading is currently under discussion by the 9/11 Memorial and Museum Foundation, which he also chairs.

“Some people have said, you know, we should go on forever. Some people have said change is good, and — the subject’s come up a couple times, and I think we’ve said the foundation board will talk about this,” the mayor said in his weekly WOR-AM radio broadcast on Aug 19.

“We’ll talk to a lot of the family members and talk to a lot of the, you know, existing first responders and see what people think,” he said.

“And you’re never going to have unanimity. There will always be dissension.” 

Name-reading must stay

The news was met with anger by the families of some 9/11 victims, who said the reading should remain part of the official Ground Zero ceremony.

Rosemary Cain, whose 35-year-old son George Cain, a firefighter, was killed on 9/11, said she would be heartbroken if she could not hear her son’s name read on future anniversaries.

“He deserves to be remembered as George,” Cain, a Long Island resident, told DNAinfo, a local Manhattan daily.

“[The 9/11 victims] are not a number,” he said. “They all had lives, hopes and dreams, and they deserve to be remembered individually.”

Retired Fire Department of New York (FDNY) Chief Jim Riches, whose 29-year-old son Jim Riches Jr., also a firefighter, was killed on 9/11, agreed that it is important to read the names of the victims every year.

“It’s a disgrace to say something like that,” Riches said of the mayor’s comments. “It’s disrespectful to all of the 9/11 victims.”

If the city decides to cancel the name-reading ceremony, Riches told DNAinfo he and the other families would organize their own ceremony in Lower Manhattan on future anniversaries.

“We’ll do it without the politicians,” he said.

Roll call must end

Others, however, believe it’s about time to discontinue the tradition of name reading after a decade of practicing it.

“Things have changed. Time has passed, and we have a memorial now. So, I don’t know. I think it’s a question worth asking,” Charles G. Wolf, who lost his wife on 9/11, told NY1 News.

“We have spent enough time dwelling on our losses, and I would like to see people dwelling on how we can make things better now,” said Valerie Lucznikowska, who lost her nephew on 9/11.

“We have a beautiful memorial, and all the names are there,” said Jefferson Crowther, who lost his son on 9/11.

“That’s a permanent memorial, and I think that’s much more fitting than just having people read the names.”

The 18 Filipinos and Filipino-Americans who died in the WTC attacks were Grace Alegre Cua, Cesar A. Alviar, Marlyn C. Bautista, Cecile M. Caguicla, Jayceryll M. de Chavez, Benilda Pascua Domingo, Judy Hazel Fernandez, Ramon Grijalvo, Frederick Kuo Jr., Arnold A. Lim, Manuel L. Lopez, Carl Allen Peralta, Maria Theresa Santillan, Rufino Conrado (Roy) F. Santos, David Marc Sullins, Hilario (Larry) S. Sumaya, Hector Tamayo and Cynthia Betita Motus Wilson.

The three Fil-Ams who lost their lives in the planes that were hijacked and crashed by the terrorists were Ronald Gamboa, Ruben Ornedo and Manolito Kaur.

Obama to attend

This year’s ceremony will feature poetry read by elected officials past and present, including President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama, the first time a sitting president will attend.

And the names will be read.

One of the highlights is the unveiling of two memorial pools in the footprints of the Towers, with the names of those lost — including first responders — carved in bronze plaques around the edges.

Due to limited space, Bloomberg said the families of the victims will get first priority to the ceremony, adding that several politicians and foreign leaders have been turned away, while first responders have not been invited.

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