Democratic mayoral nominee Eric Adams said police and firefighters should be able to attend the 20th anniversary commemoration at the 9/11 memorial Saturday — not just invited guests and relatives of victims.
“Family members lost loved ones at that site, but those first responders lost something at that site also,” Adams told The Post during an exclusive interview about his experience serving on Sept. 11, 2001 as an NYPD lieutenant.
“It may have not been a physical loss as a family member, but a part of them was left on that toxic pile,” Adams said.
Earlier this year the 9/11 Memorial & Museum sent invitations to the relatives of the victims saying, “The ceremony will be exclusively for 9/11 family members.” They were instructed to use the letters as entrance credentials.
A memorial spokesman insisted there’s no change from previous years, but first responders who’ve attended before say they’d been admitted without credentials in the past.
Adams, the outgoing Brooklyn borough president and retired NYPD captain, did a 12-hour shift at Ground Zero securing the site as a crime scene the night after the attacks.
“That night when I got to the Trade Center and I saw people covered in soot, the ground was smoldering, the buildings were gone for as far I could see, I cannot even explain how surreal it was. It was just hard to even comprehend,” Adams recalled during the interview.
His younger brother Bernard Adams, who helped evacuate people from Queens high rises as a sergeant on Sept. 11, 2001, said first responders still suffer tremendous trauma from their service that day.
“There’s some emotional scars there I don’t think will ever heal – it’s our Pearl Harbor,” Bernard told The Post Wednesday.
Andy Ansbro, head of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, blasted the attendance requirements.
“The heavy-handed approach by the museum is another slap in the face to first responders,” Ansbro said.
“Twenty years ago we were obviously more than welcome to go down there and put our lives on the line and many of us died, Ansbro fumed.
“It’s outrageous. It’s just another example in a long list of mismanagement of the site,” he said.
On the 10th anniversary of the attack, the city said there was no room for emergency responders at the ceremony attended by many dignitaries.
And in 2016, the 15th anniversary, some firefighters were barred from the ceremony while politicians got in.
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Ansbro, whose union endorsed entrepreneur Andrew Yang in the Democratic mayoral primary, said he was heartened by Adams’ remarks on the controversy.
Adams also agreed with Ansbro’s call for more firehouses in recently developed areas including Hudson Yards and Long Island City.
“We often talk about, ‘Build our train stations, build our parks and other amenities,” Adams told The Post.
“But we need to really look at what are we doing around public safety of these areas. We have almost a mini city down in Hudson Yards, why didn’t we bargain to make sure we received a fire house there and an EMS station there?” Adams said.
Ansbro said he was heartened by Adams positions on major union concerns.
“I do take that as a great sign. For all intents and purposes he’s going to win and I look forward to working with him,” Ansbro said about Adams who is heavily favored to beat GOP mayoral nominee Curtis Sliwa in the November general election.