Joined: Mar 17, 2005
Location: Staten Island
|Posted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 9:30 pm Post subject: We must respect human remains at the 911 Memorial Museum now
From Jun 01, 2011 to Jun 05, 2011 (included)
|Dear Fellow 9/11 Family Member,
As some of you may be aware, details have now emerged of a plan to put the human remains of those killed on 9/11 in the basement of the 9/11 Memorial Museum (9/11MM), seven stories (70 feet) below ground at the WTC site.
While many family members, including the undersigned, originally supported the idea of returning the remains to Ground Zero in the early years after 9/11 - they always believed the sacred remains would be placed in a honorable and respectful Memorial repository similar to a "tomb of the unknowns" - and they certainly believed that this would be near, or above ground level.
The overwhelming majority of 9/11 family members were never consulted about the placement of the remains in the basement area of a museum, although a handful of family members, with connections to the 9/11MM support this disrespectful idea.
In 2003, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation ( LMDC) issued guidelines for the 9/11 memorial design competition. These guidelines contained specific details for the memorial which would include a human remains repository incorporating criteria that the repository would be in a "separate accessible space."
The overall Memorial, which included the repository, was to be "distinct from other memorial structures like a museum or visitors center." - this information is available in official LMDC documents and is currently listed on the LMDC's own web site.
At some point during the summer of 2006, most probably shortly after the entire memorial was redesigned to reduce its overall cost, a decision was made to relocate the human remains repository to the underground museum - a plan that was unknown to the majority of 9/11 families.
By October 2006, the human remains repository had become a "programmable element" of the museum. Thus, the repository essentially became an exhibit for museum visitors, materially altering the nature of the of the original agreement that many families had supported.
The problem is that no one informed all of the 2,749 families that their loved ones' remains were now part of a museum! In all likelihood, most families were never even aware of this change. The remains of our loved ones will no longer be located in a "separate accessible space" that is "distinct from other memorial structures like a museum or visitors center." They are now to be placed 70 feet underground and accessible only from the museum, and families must use the same single entrance that thousands of paying visitors will be using!
The fact that many of the 9/11 families desired that the remains be repatriated to the World Trade Center site is not in question. The questions are:
1) Who decided to make the human remains of 9/11 victims an exhibit in the museum ? and 2) Why didn't they ask the permission of the 2,749 families before they made that decision?
Proper consultation would have required that the 9/11MM send a letter to all GZ victims' family members. The undersigned have made this simple request to the 9/11MM officials to send out a letter to all the families on several occasions, but they continue to refuse to do this..
We believe, and international museum protocols are explicit - that any decision concerning the disposition of human remains lies solely with the affected families - in this case all of the 9/11 families. You must have a voice and you must have a choice in any decision regarding loved ones' remains. This decision should not be made by a handful of families and bureaucrats - it should instead be made by all the families of the victims.
In the near future, our group - "9/11 Parents & Families of Firefighters and WTC Victims" - will endeavor to contact all 2,749 families to inform them of the current 9/11MM plan and to ascertain what they desire regarding the remains of their loved ones. The fact the 9/11MM refuses to inform each family member about this critical issue and the fact we that we do not have contact information for all families - necessitates that we take legal action to to do the job that the 9/11MM officials should already have done. We ask that you support our efforts to fully inform all of the 2,749 families regarding this matter.
Chief Jim & Rita Riches
Chief Al & Maureen Santora
Joyce and Russell Mercer
Rosaleen & Eileen Tallon
Eileen & Matthew Walsh
John & Margaret Cawley
Al & Sally Regenhard