An Orange resident is on a mission to make September 11 a federal holiday called ‘First Responders’ Day’. The catch, though, is that the federal government will not likely add another federal holiday without eliminating one. “Since the government won’t add a holiday without sacrificing an existing one, I would suggest Columbus Day, since most people don’t celebrate or honor Columbus Day. It’s so close to 9-11 and I think it would be a nice swap,” said Mary Hurley, who has started a petition to get the attention of the federal government.
“9-11 has always been a day that’s very personal and somber to me, a day that has been filled with personal reflection,” Hurley said. “The action of the first responders that day was incredible and they should be honored in the same way that our veterans are. The first responders are heroes and I would like them to be honored in the same way as our soldiers. The day deserves recognition of this type.”
“I have nothing against Columbus Day,” she adds. “It’s just that 9-11 is not a day that we should just have to go to work and act like it’s any other regular day. It’s not.”
On the Petition Page, which requires 100,000 signatures before the government will consider the change, she writes, “The events of September 11th are still very fresh in the minds of most Americans. The heroic acts of First Responders on that day should be rightly honored right alongside our nation’s veterans on Veteran’s Day, and those that gave their lives for this country on Memorial Day.”
“The Federal Government will usually only recognize a certain number of Federal Holidays per year. Columbus Day has become a more and more controversial holiday each year. Moreover, it’s a holiday that no one really celebrates anyway. The American people will benefit more from First Responders’ Day to honor those First Responders who gave their lives and for those that still live with the scars of that fateful day far more than Columbus Day,” the request for signatures reads.
“We need 100,000 signatures in 30 days. The petition was started on 9-11 and closes on October 11,” Hurley says. “I know we may not reach the number of signatures required, but it was important to me to put the idea out there and it may be the start of something.”
By Melissa Nicefaro – Orange Town News Correspondent