Some feel frustration on 9/11 anniversary
Hundreds of families who lost loved ones in the September 11th attacks mourned today, and sought solace at the spot where they died.
But for some 9/11 families, peace remains elusive.
A group of 17 families is continuing their long-running battle with the September 11th Memorial and Museum.
Their latest frustration with the museum comes on the heels of an agreement made Monday night that will begin construction again on the stalled museum.
The compromise was reached by the Port Authority and the foundation that runs the memorial and museum. But families who spoke yesterday said they were deeply disappointed there was no mention of family input in the plans outlined in Monday’s agreement.
Where the remains of the victims will be kept is what families say is the most pressing — and most disturbing — conflict.
The museum’s website describes a repository for remains adjacent to the museum’s memorial exhibition, which will be under the operation of the city’s Chief Medical Examiner’s office.
But the families object to the remains being kept below ground — the museum itself is located 70 feet below ground, at the bedrock level of the foundation of the World Trade Center site.
“We’re asking that they be put in a respectful aboveground repository similar to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. That’s all we’re asking for,” said Rosemary Cain, who lost her son George in the attacks. “They don’t belong in the bowels of a museum.”
Ultimately, Cain said, they just want the museum to consult the families of the victims.
“Whatever the families decide we will all abide by,” she said.
A museum spokesman said the foundation has made many efforts dating as far back as 2002 to conduct discussions and get feedback from the families of the victims.
Families want in on committees
Monday’s agreement created two committees to oversee the progress of the museum.
Families say they want the deal amended to include at least one family member on each committee.
“(It should) include at least one family member on the Site Event Committee and one family member on the Advisory Committee,” said attorney Norman Siegel, who is representing seventeen families. “We further call upon them to allow the family members themselves to select on a rotating basis a family member to be involved.”
The museum’s top spokesman, Michael Frazier, said in an email that families will be considered for the committees.
No remains for 41 percent of 9/11 victims
The Medical Examiner’s Office will continued to carry out attempts to identify the as-yet unidentified remains.
According to attorney Normal Siegel, as of June 2010, no remains at all have been identified for 41 percent of all 2,759 victims. “Not much has changed since then,” he said.