Firefighters at Ground Zero Protest Charged

The Sept. 11 terror attacks had a profound impact on the United States, and the effects are still rippling across American society in large and small ways. Here is a periodic wrap-up of some of them.

Firefighters Charged Over World Trade Center Clash

N E W Y O R K., Nov. 3 — Ten New York firefighters were charged with misdemeanors early today over clashes with the police during a protest near the World Trade Center against cuts in the number of workers assigned to comb the rubble of the remains.

The Manhattan District Attorney charged 10 of the firefighters with obstruction of governmental administration, disorderly conduct and trespassing — all misdemeanors. Two of the 12 arrested were not charged.

On Friday, firefighters and policemen, praised as heroes after the Sept. 11 attack, clashed near ground zero when firemen overturned barricades and punched police officers during the protest by some 1,000 firefighters.

Five policemen were assaulted and 12 firefighters arrested when firefighters broke through police barricades near the site of their finest hour in protests over recovery personnel cuts the mayor said were needed for safety reasons but firefighters said were a matter of money.

The 10 are to appear for another hearing Dec. 18. On Friday, the protesting firefighters headed to the site of the collapsed towers, shouting "Bring them home" in a reference to their fallen comrades. They held a brief prayer and then walked through Lower Manhattan to City Hall as onlookers cheered.

"There is no question that emotions are very, very high for all of us," New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani told a news conference. "But the reality is the kind of conduct displayed today is unacceptable. You cannot hit police officers. You can't disobey the law," he said.

—The Associated Press

Muslim Leader Condemns Terror Suspects

G R E E N S B O R O, N.C., Nov. 2 — The leader of the nation's largest group of Muslims says the Sept. 11 hijackers must have known their actions were wrong.

W. Deen Mohammed — the head of the Muslim American Society — is the leader of about 2 million Muslims. He's the son of Elijah Muhammed — the founder of the Nation of Islam.

Speaking Thursday at a North Carolina university, Mohammed says terrorists twist the doctrine of Islam. He says that can only lead to "hellfire."

But Mohammed says it's important to understand the cause of what he describes as the terrorists' "insanity." He says Muslim leaders bear "deep scars" from struggling to uphold Islam. And Mohammed says extremist Muslims fear American freedom.

The Muslim leader is also expressing concern about U.S. bombs falling on Afghanistan — saying innocent people shouldn't be killed.

—The Associated Press

Rookie Firefighters Graduate in New York

N E W Y O R K, Nov. 1 — There were six empty chairs — draped in black and purple bunting at the Fire Department's graduation ceremony in Brooklyn.

The six rookies were among 343 firefighters killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

A total of 240 other rookie firefighters marked the department's first graduating class since the terrorist attack. New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and other speakers noted that many of the trainees received a special initiation into the perils of their profession.

Family members were invited to the stage to accept the diplomas for Richard Allen, Calixto Anaya Junior, Andrew Brunn, Michael Cammarata, Michael D'Auria and Anthony Rodriguez as their classmates applauded.

The new graduates also included Edward McMellon, one of four police officers acquitted last year in the 1999 shooting death of West African immigrant Amadou Diallo in the Bronx.

—The Associated Press

Rescue Workers Get Hawaii Vacations

H O N O L U L U, Nov. 2 — Hawaii's struggling tourism industry is offering 1,200 emergency workers in New York a taste of the aloha spirit, in the form of free vacations to the islands.

"Fire, police and rescue workers are among our country's bravest and most selfless heroes," said Gov. Ben Cayetano, who announced the gift Thursday. "We would like to honor them by inviting these rescue workers to relax in the comforting warmth and hospitality of our islands and our people."

New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani will be asked to select 600 of the rescue and recovery workers to be flown to Hawaii on Dec. 3 for a week of rest and recuperation in Waikiki, Cayetano said.

Each month during 2002, 50 more rescue workers will be given similar vacations, he said.

Cayetano said he will extend the invitation when he visits New York next week to attend the American Society of Travel Agents World Congress, an event Hawaii will host next year.

Meanwhile, the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau has canceled the expensive dinner planned for the 2,000 ASTA delegates on Nov. 7. Instead, a $125,000 check will be given to the New York Police and Fire Widows' and Children's Benefit Fund, the governor's office said. The delegates will be given $75 each to dine out that night in New York's restaurants.

The state of Hawaii and the tourist industry have launched advertising campaigns in an effort to attract tourists who have been staying away since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

The number of domestic visitors to Hawaii is down 9 percent from the same time last year and tourism from Japan is down 61 percent, according to state officials.

—The Associated Press

Some Run Marathon for Trade Center Missing

NEW YORK — Ralph Maerz is a 56-year-old ex-smoker who until a month ago hadn't gone for a serious run since high school.

Yet on Sunday, he'll be among 30,000 runners in the New York City Marathon. He'll be there because his son Noell can't.

Noell Maerz, 29 and a father-to-be, was killed in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. A bond trader with Euro Brokers on the 84th floor of Tower 2, he had been training for his first marathon in his adopted city.

Ralph Maerz was persuaded by another son, 27-year-old Erich, to join him in running for Noell.

They are among about 10 people who have signed up for the marathon in the past six weeks to take the places of loved ones lost on Sept. 11.

"It's a way of doing something my son was going to do, and this way all three of us can compete together," said Maerz, of Landsdale, Pa. "The three of us — Erich and myself and my son Noell. Not in body, but in spirit, he will be there."

Organizers are dedicating Sunday's 26.2-mile race to the victims of the terrorist attacks, and they are collecting donations from runners and sponsors in hopes of raising $1 million.

—The Associated Press

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