Posted by on April 21, 2014 in Blog
Many in our community know the story of 23-year-old NYPD cadet and 9/11 first responder, Mohamed Salman Hamdani, who lost his life at the World Trade Center. To this day, Hamdani, a first generation American Muslim from Pakistan, is still not listed at the 9/11 memorial as a first responder even though he made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of his city and fellow citizens. Hamdani’s exclusion from the memorial and his rightful place in history may be linked to a deplorable incident that occurred following his disappearance the day of the attacks when authorities incorrectly linked Hamdani’s absence from work on September 11 to involvement in the attacks. Those allegations were, of course, completely unfounded. In truth, Hamdani, a certified EMT, rushed to the scene of the attacks to offer his assistance. Sadly, like many other brave first responders, he lost his life trying to bring people to safety.
It wasn’t until five months later when Hamdani’s remains were discovered at Ground Zero that his name was cleared of any involvement in the attacks. After enduring the grief surrounding Salman’s death, 10 years later, on the anniversary of September 11, Hamdani’s mother, Talat, now a retired middle school teacher, found out that her son’s name was not included as a first responder at the 9/11 memorial. She began an advocacy campaign to get her son the recognition he deserves. Now, after four years, Salman Hamdani is finally getting recognized for his bravery and sacrifice. Next Monday, in Bayside, Queens, a part of 204th street in Hamdani’s old neighborhood will be dedicated to his memory and co-named “Salman Hamdani Way.”
The co-naming ceremony will take place at 11am on 204th street and 35th avenue. The street designation by the City is a great first step in honoring a hero’s sacrifice, but Salman Hamdani deserves to be recognized among the other 9/11 first responders who bravely ran toward disaster as others were running away. Hamdani was not required to report to the scene that day, but a personal calling and devotion to public service compelled him to respond. That, by definition, is heroism. And it’s heroism that is no less worthy of recognition than any of the other brave Americans who lost their lives during 9/11. With no luck in getting the Bloomberg administration to honor her son, Talat Hamdani says she is hoping that Mayor DeBlasio will be more receptive and finally add Salman’s name to the 9/11 memorial.
For more information about attending the co-naming ceremony in Queens, call: (718) 619-9611.
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