A mother’s efforts to memorialize her son’s heroics on Sept. 11, 2001 and wipe away early suspicions that he was a terrorist are slowly coming to fruition.
Talat Hamdani, 61, has spent over a decade battling the perception that her son, Mohammed Salman Hamdani, was anything less than the 23-year-old NYPD cadet who rushed to help at the World Trade Center that fateful day. He’ll be one step closer to full recognition for his heroics this spring, when a proposed renaming of 204th Street at 35th Avenue in Hamdani’s honor will come before the City Council.
Community Board 11 voted unanimously for the renaming on Feb. 4, moving the proposal on to Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone).
“We the people do have the power to rectify,” Talat Hamdani said. “This is democracy at work. I’m happy, but yet it’s not over.”
The Pakistani American from Bayside rushed to the World Trade Center when he saw smoke billowing from the towers, and died helping that day. Yet the immediate response by authorities was to investigate his whereabouts, suspecting he was part of the terror network responsible for the attack until his remains were later found at Ground Zero. He was buried with full honors from the Police Department, and lauded as a hero by Commissioner Ray Kelly.
But at the 9/11 Memorial, Salman’s name resides along the South Tower’s perimeter, in a veritable purgatory among those whose connections to that fateful day were tenuous or hard to define.
Talat wants her son’s name moved to be among the first responders who died helping others that day. The renaming is solace, however small, but helps build her case.
“It is an injustice,” she said. “I think this event, the naming of the street, is going to send a strong message to the whole city.”
Halloran said he will bring the renaming before the Council in March.
“Mohammed Salman Hamdani made the ultimate sacrifice on 9/11,” he said in a statement. “An NYPD cadet and EMT, he entered the Twin Towers not because he had to but because he chose to dedicate his life to helping people. My cousin, Lt. Vincent Halloran, made the same sacrifice and I know Salman’s family feels both pride and sorrow for their loss. The city must recognize these great heroes, who gave their lives to save others. A street renaming is a very small but appropriate recognition of his bravery.”