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Port Authority workers to be honored

After a long campaign, 13 Port Authority civilian

employees who died in the line of duty in the World Trade Center attack will be

honored tomorrow with a national Medal of Valor at a White House ceremony.

The 13 employees will be among the 443 public safety officers being

honored, which includes the 343 members of the FDNY, 23 members of the NYPD and

the 37 Port Authority police officers, which suffered the largest single-day

loss of life of any police force in history.

Speaking of the civilians, Alan Reiss, who in 2001 was the director of the

authority's World Trade Center department, said: "The difference that day is

their regular uniform was a suit."

Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens), who lost his cousin, FDNY Battalion Chief John

Moran, led the nearly four-year effort to honor the officers as well as the

civilians who acted as first responders. President George W. Bush signed into

law in December a bill that created 9/11 Heroes Medal of Valor.

"They were in serious, serious danger, yet continued to do what they were

doing," Crowley said in an interview. "They all deserve the recognition for

what they did that day."

The Port Authority had to document to the U.S. Justice Department that the

13 had received extensive emergency training and were legitimately eligible for

the medal, said Lillian Valenti, chief of the office of medical services.

"Even though they were civilians, they received a fair amount of

first-responder training," said Tony Coscia, chairman of the Port Authority.

Some 1,200 family members of the victims are expected to attend the

ceremony tomorrow afternoon. Each family will receive a gold-plated medallion

and two pins. The ceremony will coincide with the fourth anniversary of the


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