FDNY medal of honor named after publisher with 'racist beliefs' renamed for 9/11 hero

By 1010 WINS

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- An FDNY medal of honor named after a newspaper publisher who espoused “deeply racist beliefs” has been renamed in memory of an FDNY chief who was killed on 9/11, Commissioner Daniel Nigro said.

The FDNY’s top award for bravery, the James Gordon Bennett Medal, will be renamed the Chief of Department Peter J. Ganci medal, Nigro said Tuesday evening. 

Bennett, who published The New York Herald, endowed the award in 1869 to show his appreciation for firefighters who saved his home in upstate New York after it caught fire, the New York Times reported. The department has bestowed the award on an FDNY member each year since then, for acts of valor and heroism.

Bennett, however, “held deeply racist beliefs and used his newspaper to repeatedly express hateful views in full support of slavery,” Nigro said in a statement explaining the name change.