'The Kneeling Fireman' Is Dedicated at Emigrant Savings Bank as Tribute to September 11 First Responders

September 22nd, 2011

A statue of a fireman kneeling in front of a fallen comrade’s helmet, symbolic of the losses suffered in the September 11th attacks, was dedicated at Emigrant Savings Bank on September 22. Howard Milstein, Chairman and CEO of Emigrant Savings Bank, led the ceremony.

“The Kneeling Fireman” was placed in front of the Emigrant Savings Bank building on East 43rd Street between Madison and Fifth Avenues. At the dedication, Howard Milstein remarked, “Among the bravest of the brave that day were the firefighters who raced to the rescue, along with all the emergency responders who went above and beyond. Some made the ultimate sacrifice. That’s why we’re here today—just after the 10th anniversary of 9/11—and dedicating this poignant sculpture: ‘The Kneeling Fireman.’ ”

“The Kneeling Fireman” arrived in New York City just over ten years ago.  It was stranded there, on its way to Missouri, when air traffic was halted after September 11. Originally destined for the Firefighters Association of Missouri, it was donated by that organization to the firefighters and citizens of New York in recognition of their losses in the attacks. At that time, the statue was placed outside the Milford Plaza Hotel, owned by the Milstein family, and remained there for some time before it was stored pending selection of a suitable site for its permanent home.

Howard added, “I am honored to be able to provide a home for this noble and inspiring statue. It is a fitting tribute to all first responders who answered the call on that fateful day.” Representatives from the New York City Fire Department, the FBI, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and the National September 11 Memorial and Museum also participated in the dedication.

Following the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Milstein Properties buildings in Battery Park City provided rest areas and food for first responders. An undeveloped piece of land was used as a staging area for Verizon to restore its damaged phone lines and cell phone repeaters. Howard donated hundreds of rooms at the Milford Plaza Hotel, which was a major gathering point for donated supplies that were delivered to the World Trade Center site. He also provided linens, towels, cleaning solvents, mops and brooms and released several executives for three months to assist and respond to requests for equipment and supplies. In 2002, Howard Milstein, as one of the major developers in the area near Ground Zero, was appointed by Governor George Pataki to the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation to assist in its post-9/11 revitalization.

Howard Milstein is a major donor to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, on whose board he sits. Recently, he underwrote the publication of Art for the Heart: Remembering 9/11, which compiles artwork created by children who lost a parent on September 11. He also made a memorial gift of art constructed of steel that was part of the World Trade Center to September 11 victims’ families.

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