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An Open Letter to the IAFF President
Daniel J. McGovern

Mr. Schaitberger,

My name is Lt. Daniel J. McGovern. I am a 22 year veteran of the New York City Fire Department currently assigned to Ladder Co. 125. I am writing to you regarding the current ongoing controversy over the use of 9-11 images by the Bush campaign. I want you to know that I applaud the Presidents efforts to keep the country focused on his number one priority, the war against terror. That war began on September 11, 2001 in lower Manhattan. I experienced it up close and personal. Those images in the campaign ads that you are protesting are in my head daily and will be I'm sure for the rest of my life, those images and unfortunately far worse ones.

We resolved as a nation that day to never forget this act of war. The very words, “We will not forget”, were written everywhere in the dust of Ground Zero. My brothers and I gained strength from those words yet a part of me was fearful that one day in the future the people of this country would somehow forget. To my utter dismay I feel now that many people have indeed forgotten what we all experienced as a nation on that horrible day. Judging by the uproar from the Kerry camp, with the staunch support of you the IAFF President, it appears that some people don't even want to be reminded. This is precisely the attitude that allows terrorism to exist.

I think back to the days following the attacks and remember a nation that did not cower in fear but instead displayed a tremendous courage and a firm resolve to do what needed to be done to hunt down terrorists wherever they may be in the world and prevent any possibility of another day like 9-11. This immense task required courageous, focused and decisive leadership. We received this and far more from President Bush. Why shouldn't he remind people of the leadership qualities he showed during that time. These ads do not insult the dead! If they can be used to reelect a man whose Presidency is dedicated to the eradication of terrorism worldwide then maybe the victims of that day will not have died in vain.

I ask you honestly, could John Kerry have displayed such decisive leadership and conviction? I doubt it. He seems to have a knack for changing his opinion whenever there is a chance for political gain. This is not the type of man we need in the White House during these times.

When you stand behind Mr. Kerry and display sign reading “Firefighters for Kerry” and “IAFF supports Kerry”, people make the assumption that you are speaking with the approval of your membership. Well Sir, nobody asked me or any of my co-workers in the FDNY whether or not we approve. I for one do not. Please do not think that you in any way represent me or the numerous members of the FDNY with whom I have had discussions.


Lt. Daniel J. McGovern, FDNY