One of the strongest of these is the relationship between society and those who protect its’ public safety, and I am always going to stand here and advocate strongly for the maintenance of that relationship. If you want to part of our community here in the City of Niagara Falls, you bought into that part. There is no alternative path.
With that said, at one point just about a year ago, we staged a ceremony up on the stage at the Niagara Falls Blues Festival. Coincidentally, the Blues Festival last year fell on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. So I kept telling the promoters, "You have to be prepared; we’re going up on stage. We’ll have the whole community together on the anniversary of 9/11, and we have to be certain that we mark that anniversary appropriately." And so on that occasion I was very, very honored to be joined onstage by one of the two Niagara Falls Firefighters who were First Responders on 9/11the other having passed away, or he would have been there as well. Of course, that is John Asklar, whom I am proud to have working for City of Niagara Falls, and whom I would also be proud (hopefully) to call my friend.
At that time we announced our intention to dedicate a new piece of apparatus, purchased with casino revenues, to those 343 gallant firefighters who lost their lives on 9/11. In my enthusiasm I had suggested that it would appropriate for us to put John’s name on the side of the truck. I was subsequently informed we usually don’t do that that for people who are still alive, because it is considered very, very bad luck. So we made an adjustment in terms of the inscription. Several of the guys who worked for John said they would be happy to kill him if that would help us get over this hurdle…I will give you their names later, John. All in jest of course…(Laughter)
I can’t go to one of these ceremonies without thinking about John Asklar, and Dave Williams, and the experience they had on 9/11. I think it gives our community and our department a special connection to the events of that day to have had people there as First Responders. I’ve said this before: the only reason I think they survived that day, is that they couldn’t get there fast enough to get killed in the initial response. I think that’s basically true. If they had a faster ride, they would have been the three-hundred forty- fourth and three-hundred forthy-fifth firefighter victims -- a special connection, I think, from our department to the events of 9/11.
I pledge to you that as long as I am the Mayor of the City of Niagara Falls, we will never forget the events of that day. As long as I am the Mayor of the City of Niagara Falls, we are going to leave no stone unturned in our efforts to make sure you have the best leaders, the best training, the best equipment, and that we do absolutely everything we can to ensure that every single one of you comes home safely from work to your loved ones every single day.
God bless you, and thank you for being here today.