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Ceremony to Honor N.Y. Firefighters

October 12, 2002

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Thousands of firefighters from around the world were expected in New York on Saturday for a massive ceremony to honor the city’s fallen firefighters.

The memorial service was to begin with a march of firefighters, led by bagpipers and drummers, and proceed to Madison Square Garden.

The procession was to include 356 firefighters, including some from as far away as France, Japan and Australia, each bearing an American flag representing an FDNY member lost in the line of duty since October 2000.

The tally included the 343 killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center as well, nine paramedics and firefighters killed in other incidents, three retirees working as trade center fire safety directors and a member of the insurance industry-funded New York Fire Patrol. The patrol works out of firehouses to salvage property at fires.

To open the Madison Square Garden ceremony, organizers planned to show a videotape of Firefighter Vernon Cherry, an amateur singer who died Sept. 11, singing the national anthem.

Speeches by politicians and fire union leaders were to be interspersed with musical interludes before the department’s Medal of Supreme Sacrifice was to be presented to survivors of fallen members.

The department’s annual ceremony for firefighters lost in the line of duty, held at the Firemen’s Memorial, an outdoor monument, was delayed after the trade center attack.

It was moved to Madison Square Garden, where 25,000 tickets have been distributed to firefighters and families, to accomodate crowds expected to be in the many tens of thousands.

Video screens were being set up outside the arena for attendees to watch from the street.

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