Wisconsin Firefighters Union Reportedly Blocks Ex-Member's 9/11 Tribute Float

A firefighters union in Wisconsin, after being snubbed by one of its more conservative members, reportedly has scuttled the former member's plans to honor firefighters and police officers killed in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2011.

The float -- a re-enactment of the famous photo of three firefighters raising the American flag in the rubble of the World Trade Center -- generated a "rush of emotions" when it passed through three parade routes in Milwaukee County in 2002, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

With the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks approaching, Matt Gorniak, a Milwaukee-area fire lieutenant, and his church group tried to revive the float for the upcoming Independence Day parade in Racine, Wis., the paper reports.

The request, however, set off a debate among leaders within the Racine firefighters union, which ultimately decided not to support or march with the float. The head of union, Craig Ford of the International Association of Fire Firefighters Local 321, declined to discuss the matter when reached by the newspaper.

"I really don't have much of a comment on that," told the Journal Sentinel, and was unable to reach him for comment Friday.

The dispute may have something to do with Gorniak's decision recently to remove himself from the union, using a rarely invoked provision in the state's labor law.

Gorniak described himself to the newspaper as a conservative supporter of Gov. Scott Walker's attempts to limit the rights of public unions, and he withdrew from his union over the high-profile union protests of Walker's legislation.

He lamented that the float honoring the victims of 9/11 is getting caught up in the state's fight over union rights.

"I want to touch our community," Gorniak told the Journal Sentinel. "I'm hoping patriotic people are out in droves, and they don't see this as union or nonunion."

Click here for more on this report from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.