The NYC Atheists, are demanding that New York City change the name of the block in Brooklyn named "Seven in Heaven Way" in honor of seven local firefighters who were killed in the September 11 attacks.
Catherine O'Mara (71) said "It's disgusting and horrible…This means everything to the women who lost their husbands." O'Mara's son-in-law, Brian Cannizzara is one of those honored by the sign.
Last month the block at Richard Street in Red Hook, Brooklyn, was officially given the name "Seven in Heaven Way" to honor the firefighters from Ladder Co. 101/Engine Co. 202. The Community Board 6 and the City Council both approved the change but now a group of atheists are threatening legal action.
Head of NYC Atheists, Ken Bronstein, says his lawyers are mulling over a lawsuit. He told the New York Daily News "We are not against honoring anyone who died or served on 9/11…What we're against is the use of the word 'heaven,' which is a religious concept.
"The Founding Fathers set up separation of church and state. We need to draw a line in the sand. This is not a Christian nation. This is a republic."
The district manager of Community Board 6, Craig Hammerman doesn't believe they are protesting too late. He said "There was a public process, and they had ample opportunity to make their feelings known."
A local Brooklyn atheist, Josh Roxas (28) told Daily News "These guys gave their lives for us. They deserve that sign."
Ralph Gullickson, lost his brother, Joseph, on 9/11. They were unable to find his remains. All Gullickson has now is this street sign and other memorials around the city.
He explained "We weren't even able to recover my brother's remains. These little things like a sign is all we have left. How dare these people try to take it away from us."
"He didn't go in there that day and ask people what their religion [was] or whether they believed in God. He just went to save people."