- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 9, 2002

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) A ceremony yesterday near the state Capitol honored 366 firefighters who died in the line of duty most of them during the terrorist destruction of the World Trade Center towers.
The names, read in alphabetical order, included 343 New York City Fire Department firefighters and four World Trade Center fire-safety staff members who died during the September 11 attacks. Twelve other firefighters from New York City and Broome, Chautauqua, Niagara, Oneida and Orleans counties died last year in circumstances unrelated to the attacks. Seven names were added from previous years, the earliest from 1866.
"Each firefighters' story is unique. Each had a family who loved him," said Gov. George E. Pataki, whose father was a volunteer firefighter in Peekskill in Westchester County. "Our obligation to each of these men is to remember what they did and to remember our debt. We regret that heroism comes at such great a price."
The annual ceremony increased the number of names on the state's Fallen Firefighters Memorial, dedicated in 1998, to 2,241. About 1,100 firefighters and family members attended the observance.
The memorial is on the Empire State Plaza near the state Capitol.
Last October the state recognized 30 fallen firefighters five of whom died in 2000. Planning for the event yesterday began immediately afterward, said Jim Burns, state fire administrator with the Office of Fire Prevention and Control.
"I'm relieved," he said when the ceremony ended. "This has been a year of memorials and funerals. It saps your strength."
But the event yesterday was not the last memorial. A service Saturday at Madison Square Garden will honor the 343 firefighters who died in the attacks, as well as seven others killed in the line of duty since October 2000.
"The families are worn out," said Paul Melfi, deputy fire chief in Olean. "But it's important for them to see how important their fathers and husbands were."
Theresa Stack, whose husband Lawrence Stack rushed to the twin towers though he was not slated to work that day, feels it is her duty to attend every memorial that honors him. Mr. Stack, a firefighter for 34 years, was a battalion chief in Queens.

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