By Julie Shapiro and Jill Colvin
MANHATTAN — This could be the last year the names of those killed on 9/11 are read out during the annual memorial ceremony.
Speaking Friday morning during his weekly radio show, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the decision to scrap the readings is currently under discussion by the 9/11 Memorial foundation.
“Some people have said, you know, we should go on forever. Some people have said change is good, and — the subject’s come up a couple times, and I think we’ve said the foundation board will talk about this,” he said.
“We’ll talk to a lot of the family members and talk to a lot of the, you know, existing first responders and see what people think. And you’re never going to have unanimity. There will always be dissension,” he said.
The news was met with anger by the families of some 9/11 victims, who said the readings should remain part of the official Ground Zero ceremony.
Rosemary Cain, whose 35-year-old son George Cain, a firefighter, was killed on 9/11, said she would be heartbroken if she could not hear her son's name read on future anniversaries.
"He deserves to be remembered as George," said Cain, a Long Island resident.
"[The 9/11 victims] are not a number. They all had lives, hopes and dreams, and they deserve to be remembered individually."
Retired FDNY Chief Jim Riches, whose 29-year-old son Jim Riches Jr., also a firefighter, was killed on 9/11, agreed that it is important to read the names of the victims every year.
"It's a disgrace to say something like that," Riches said of the mayor's comments. "It's disrespectful to all of the 9/11 victims."
If the city decides to cancel the name-reading ceremony, Riches said he and the other families would organize their own ceremony in lower Manhattan on future anniversaries.
"We'll do it without the politicians," he said.
The comments come after weeks of debate over who should be permitted to attend this year's memorial ceremony. First responders and survivors as well as many elected officials have been shut, which the mayor said is necessary because of space constraints
"Everybody would like to participate and the bottom line is not everybody can," he said, stressing that the day will be about victims' families.