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Only firefighters may march with 9/11 float

Only firefighters may march with 9/11 float

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RACINE - The Fourth Fest board has decided that only uniformed firefighters may walk with a 9/11 tribute float in Monday's Independence Day parade.

Board members met Saturday morning and reached that consensus, Fourth Fest President Mark Hinkston said later. The question arose partly because Oak Creek firefighter Matt Gorniak is putting a 9/11 tribute float in the Fourth Fest parade to honor rescue workers who died in the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center.

But when Racine firefighters union President Craig Ford learned Gorniak is not a full union member, he said International Association of Firefighters Local 321 would not use union resources to support the float.

Conservative talk show hosts and the Racine Tea Party have since gotten involved, asking people to support the float.

Gorniak invited retired and active members of the military, police and fire departments to march with the float as long as they dressed in something identifying their service.

That led to Saturday's Fourth Fest board talks.

"We never wavered from saying the float would be in the parade," Hinkston said. "The plan was always to allow uniformed firefighters to march with it."

Firefighters should wear something that identifies them as such, he said.

Hinskton added: "From our perspective, this has nothing to do with whether certain firefighters are pro- or anti-union. We're not going to allow the general citizenry to march with it."

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Reporter

Michael "Mick" Burke covers business and the Village of Sturtevant. He is the proud father of two daughters and owner of a fantastic, although rug-chewing, German shepherd dog.

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