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Press Releases / 2003 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: OCTOBER 8, 2003

MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG AND FIRE COMMISSIONER
NICHOLAS SCOPPETTA JOIN THOUSANDS AT ANNUAL
FDNY MEMORIAL DAY CEREMONY

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta today presided at the Fire Department’s 96th annual memorial service honoring members of the Department who have died while protecting life and property in the City of New York. The service marked the return of the annual event to the Firemen’s Monument at Riverside Drive and 100th Street after a two-year absence following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. (The event was cancelled in 2001 and a special service was held last year in Madison Square Garden to accommodate a larger audience.)

"The Fire Department’s annual memorial service is a solemn and important tradition during which we remember the members of New York’s bravest we have lost over the last year," said Mayor Bloomberg. "We remember them along with the more than one thousand other members of the FDNY, who have given their lives, showing unflinching valor and devotion to duty, protecting our city since the Department’s founding nearly 140 years ago."

"Today we honor the memory of our deceased members, 1,126 of whom gave their lives in the line of duty," said Commissioner Scoppetta. "Etched on the face of the Firemen's Monument is a beautiful dedication that calls New York City's firefighters, ‘Soldiers in a war that never ends.’ It remains the responsibility of those standing in ranks today to continue fighting this `war' for which those members of the Department selflessly gave themselves."

Each year, the Fire Department honors those active members of the department who during the course of the previous year died either on or off-duty. This year, the Department honors the following members who died while off-duty: Firefighter Gary E. Celentani, Firefighter
Robert W. Dillon, Firefighter Ryan W. Duryee, Firefighter Cornelius M Sheehan, Firefighter Vanclive Johnson, Firefighter Russell C. Brinkworth, Emergency Medical Technician
Peter Zaborowski, and EMS Lieutenant Anthony B. Vassallo.

The Fireman’s Monument was built at the suggestion of the right Reverend Henry C. Potter, Protestant Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of New York on the occasion of the funeral of Deputy Chief Charles W. Kruger. Chief Kruger was killed in the line of duty in 1908 while battling a fire in Lower Manhattan. Resting on a high foundation, the memorial is flanked by two marble sculptures symbolizing duty and sacrifice. The inscription on the easterly side of the monument reads: “To the men of the Fire Department of the City of New York who died at the call of duty, soldiers in a war that never ends, This memorial is dedicated by the people of a grateful city.” The monument was completed in 1913.

Contact: Edward Skyler / Robert Lawson (212) 788-2958
Francis X. Gribbon (718) 999-2056

No. 280-03

http://www.nyc.gov/fdny

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