The New York Times reports that the placement of Mohammad Salman Hamdani’s name on the National September 11 Memorial obscures his bravery that day. Lauded by the mayor, police commissioner and other government officials, including Rep. Keith Ellison, as a hero for trying to save lives at the World Trade Center on 9/11 before he died, 23-year-old Hamdani had been an EMT and a police cadet.
His remains were discovered in wreckage of the north tower but his name is not in the first responder list or the list of north tower victims. The memorial’s web site locates his name on a South Pool panel (the particular panel also includes the name of Sneha Anne Philip whose story appeared on SM–“Closure for Dr. Sneha Philip, 9/11 Victim”–after her name was removed and restored to an official list of victims). The Times describes the placement this way:
…his name appears on the memorial’s last panel for World Trade Center victims, next to a blank space along the south tower perimeter, with the names of others who did not fit into the rubrics the memorial created to give placements meaning. That section is for those who had only a loose connection, or none, to the World Trade Center.
Hamdani’s mother feels strongly about the placement of her son’s name, and that it’s not on the official first responder list.
“They do not want anyone with a Muslim name to be acknowledged at ground zero with such high honors,” his mother, Talat Hamdani, 60, said last week at her home in Lake Grove on Long Island, her voice filled with pain. “They don’t want someone with the name Mohammad to be up there.”
NYPD did not include Hamdani on its list of fallen because as a cadet he was still a student and considered the equivalent of a paid college intern, according to its spokesperson. Mrs. Hamdani seems unsure of pressing the issue. The article ends with her thoughts on the name placement.
“You are equal no matter where you are buried, whether your name is there or not,” Mrs. Hamdani recalled saying as she stood before his name and the memorial’s pouring waterfalls on the 10th anniversary of the attacks. “By your actions the world remembers you.”