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Open Letter to 9/11 Families re: 9/11 Memorial

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Joined: Mar 17, 2005
Posts: 22572
Location: Staten Island

PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 9:12 pm    Post subject: Open Letter to 9/11 Families re: 9/11 Memorial
From Jun 29, 2011 to Jul 03, 2011 (included)
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Dear 9/11 Family Members:

Our names have been affixed to a letter sent by the Memorial Museum. We never approved that letter and want you to know that we do not agree with the premise of that letter. Our names were used without our consent.

The family room committee was arbitrarily set. Yes, we were included in that group and did attend most of the committee meetings. We were dismayed that many of the committee members had previously elected NOT to visit the existing family room or had never been there or had never even heard of its existence. This committee was NOT made up of people who seem to use this family room for reflection, solace and celebrations. We objected to the composition of the committee.

We said from the beginning that the room should remain as it is, full of the spontaneous grief, messages, family events, etc. The museum people insisted that the new room had the same amount of square footage as the room that is now on the 20th floor of 1 Liberty Plaza. But, the room has two full window walls.

Diane asked them to begin one of the committee meetings in the family room so they could see and feel the spontaneity of this unrestricted room. They did as requested. She pointed out that the window wall is totally covered over with messages, photos, drawings, etc. She said that clearly the families needed the space for things they wanted to post and didnít care about a view. The museum people said that keeping the windows filled with mementos was not in the architectís vision and would not be permitted.

The meetings evolved into discussions about how to LIMIT what you, the families, would post. The museum people also wanted some of us, the families on the committee; to act as a kind of policing of the other families to be sure you all adhered to the rules

We kept insisting that the room as it now stands is powerful because it is spontaneous. Even the messages so bleached that they canít be read show the passage of time. It seems to us it is no ones business if some families post numerous photos and still others display large culturally oriented tributes. We are a mixture of families, in size, sensibilities and cultures. Nothing should be considered too large, too many, too ethnic, too overwhelming, etc. in that room.

But the museum people came with a preexisting agenda. They have a site plan and they want to dictate a structured family room in keeping with their vision. It will be your room, families, only because you are the only ones permitted there, not because it spontaneously reflects what you need and want in that room. Much time was spent discussing what kind of furniture would be in the room and how things can be eliminated and what could be stored away in drawers which could be seen only when they were pulled out, not as a full impact upon entering the room.

In fact, at one meeting we werenít able to attend, Diane was elected to chair the removal and repositioning of the rooms contents. Needless to say, she declined the position. We do not want to tell you what is appropriate for you to have in your room. If we do that, this is just another museum exhibition room and not the family room at all.

In addition, we would not sign this letter because it includes a statement about the human remains being placed in the museum, something they call a programmatic element of the museum. That is awful. The museum people are able to send a mass mailing (misleading as it is) about the family room, but continue to refuse to send a mass mailing to all 2,753 families of those killed on September 11, 2001 asking for input about the placement of the human remains below ground, in this museum. A tomb of the unknown would have been more appropriate, but they have insisted on this crass exploitation of the human remains as a museum draw. Now, if anyone (other than family) wants to pay respects as they would to a tomb of the unknown, they must first pay an admission fee (they are talking $20/person). So the visitors from all over the USA, and indeed the world, will have to pay their money to pay their respects

Finally, many of the names shown as signatories at the bottom of the letter are people we NEVER saw at any of the meetings. We seriously doubt most of them agreed to sign this letter. The letter is a blatant attempt to make families, and the public in general, think the family room change was conducted with appropriate input from families. As members of this committee, we feel you all have been under-represented and over-judged.

Please accept our deepest regrets for any misrepresentations and for any pain this controversy has caused you. You and your loss remain in our hearts and in our efforts.

With great respect for you families,

Diane and Kurt Horning, parents of Matthew Horning
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