Families of 9/11 victims are dissatisfied with news that their beloved ones’ remains may be stored in the forthcoming museum and not in the memorial plaza. The disheartening news was detailed in a letter sent by city and memorial officials last week.
The group believes a museum is not a proper place to pay respects to their slain loved ones, and has questioned the intention and wisdom of memorial planners.
"A memorial is a place of reverence, a museum is a commercial venture," the group’s lawyer, Norman Siegel, told Newsday.
A group of 17 families unsuccessfully tried to sue the city last week, hoping to be given a list of addresses so they could survey the wishes of the entire group. The city claims that plans for the memorial were discussed and accepted by the families long ago.
Releasing the addresses would be "an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy," city attorney Thaddeus Hackworth told Newsday.
A state court judge ruled last month that the city didn’t have to make the list of addresses available, nor would they be required to seek input from victims’ families.
Families say they would prefer the remains to be buried in the outdoor memorial.
City and memorial officials said the letter was meant to resolve the issue between the two sides. But families regret that the planners refused to ask for input.
"The fact that a letter went out is positive, but it's not adequate because it ignores the most important part, from the (families') perspective, which is the input," Siegel told AP.
Current plans for the memorial include an outdoor exhibit, and an underground museum. The proposed $20 admission is unsettling to many of the families, though planners intend to waive both the fee and the hours of operation for victims’ relatives. A private viewing area for families is included in the plans.
Remains of over 1,100 people have never been identified amidst the wreckage. About 9,000 pieces of unidentified remains are in a sealed tent in lower Manhattan, near the memorial site.
Families tried to sue the city when 1.6 million tons of wreckage were moved from ground zero to a landfill. That legal battle ended when the Supreme Court refused to hear the case.
Those killed in the attacks on the Pentagon were buried in Arlington National Cemetery on the first anniversary of 9/11. The remains of those who died on United Airlines Flight 93 were buried at the site of the crash in western Pennsylvania earlier this year.
The museum is scheduled to open on Sept. 11, 2012.