Gateway Pundit is zeroing in on New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s defense of his decision about who NOT be involved in the actual 9/11 memorial ceremony on Sunday.Religious leaders, rescue workers, police officer and other key first responders are not being included as program participants.  “We just don’t have room for them,” Bloomberg says.

The New York City Police Department had to honor their lost officers in an entirely separate ceremony held Thursday evening at Avery Fisher Hall in Manhattan.   A September 8th service to honor 9/11 dead:

Bloomberg Defends Exclusion of Clergy & First Responders on 9/11...Some Cops Not Convinced

Robyn Walensky is a new addition to The Blaze team.  Beginning Monday you will hear her anchoring Blaze news updates during the Glenn Beck radio program.

She’s a veteran reporter who covered 9/11 from the scene and has long experience dealing with terrorism related stories in New York City.

Bloomberg Defends Exclusion of Clergy & First Responders on 9/11...Some Cops Not Convinced

Police officers watch bag pipers play after leaving a ceremony to honor police officers killed during or as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York, Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

She attended the Thursday night program and talked to some of those in attendance:

On 9-11…they don’t need an invitation.

They run toward the Twin Towers to help.

New York City Police Officers, Port Authority Police, and New York City Firefighters who go UP the smoke-filled staircases, while everyone else is desperately trying to get DOWN.

But 10 years later, First Responders are not “officially” being invited by New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg to participate in Sunday’s 9.11 event at Ground Zero.

Instead, members of the NYPD were invited to a separate ceremony, Thursday 9.8, at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center.

Mayor Bloomberg, who also is not “officially” inviting religious leaders, claims space and security are the issues.

One attending the 9-11 Remembrance on 9-8, is retired 20-year Veteran NYPD Officer Mike Conway, who left the force 5 years ago. His reaction to Bloomberg excluding the First Responders: “Everybody that I talk to has expressed that, that they’re pissed off at , and everything I read on-line also too, that they’re mad that the first responders and their families weren’t invited.”

Conway adds, “ Ya know, I’m going to try and be diplomatic here because I don’t know all the details here of who’s invited and who’s not, but if that’s the case, it would seem like a slap in the face, yeah. I don’t need a ceremony to remember, I had a few friends that died that day, Ray Suarez, Mark Ellis, and Moira Lynch, and I just about remember them everyday . I remember 9-11 everyday.”

I remarked that  “on that day, though, you didn’t need a invitation to go down there.” Conway says, “No, of course not, we acted like soldiers, and we marched forward. Of course not, but that’s what you do. “

Hear Mike Conway’s comments

Alicia Arancibia, from Wantagh Long Island, is the wife of an NYPD officer in the 23rd Precinct. She is the sister of FDNY member Brian McDonnell of ESU Truck 1.  He died in WTC Tower 1 on 9-11-01.

“I think that they should have been invited. I feel that all the police officers and firemen who actually died were the heroes there.” I ask about her thoughts on the mayor.  Nervous laughter, then a deep pause. “I don’t really have any thoughts on him, I try not to listen anymore. This is very difficult for us, really is, even ten years later it’s very difficult.”

Since 9-11, Alicia had a son who now shares the same middle name with her late brother Brian ‘Grady’ McDonnell. “He was just doing his job, he did what he loved, and he died doing what he loved.”  And now ten years later? Alicia answers, “Miss him, I miss him a lot. I think about him all the time. Even though it’s 10 years it feels like yesterday.”

Hear Alicia Arancibia’s comments

Bloomberg Defends Exclusion of Clergy & First Responders on 9/11...Some Cops Not Convinced

Harriet Epstein becomes emotional as she accepts a commemorative medallion from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, center, and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly during a ceremony to honor police officers killed during or as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, in New York, Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011. Epstein's son, Robert Grossman, died of illness caused by his exposure to ground zero. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)