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9/11 Memorial Complex Experience for Children

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2005 7:19 pm    Post subject: 9/11 Memorial Complex Experience for Children
From Tue Sep 27, 2005 3:00 am to Fri Sep 30, 2005 2:59 am (included)
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For Immediate Release

Contact: MaryEllen Salamone 973-809-1673/ 212-575-1878

Chris Burke 516-562-9000

Children of September 11/Tuesday’s Children

9/11 Memorial Complex Experience for Children

The “Take Back the Memorial” organization, comprised of leaders of several 9/11 family groups, strongly opposes the inclusion of the proposed International Freedom Center as part of the future 9/11 memorial complex. This group demands that over 300,000 square feet of available building space be allocated to no entity other than the Memorial and the Memorial Museum.

In press releases and interviews, spokespersons for the group have set forth that programming for the Memorial Museum include crushed cars and fire trucks, destroyed artifacts recovered from the site, remnants of the WTC towers and airplane wreckage, and graphic depiction of the events of the day. Their “required” stories of heroism re-emphasize the horror, for example the bravery exemplified by the 1/2 cadaver of a firefighter found wrapped around another and found in the wreckage. They insist that there be mention of nothing other than 9/11 -- its horrors and heroes as defined by their group -- as part of the memorial experience.

Children of September 11 and Tuesday’s Children join together to oppose this position and urges the LMDC to proceed no further with memorial plans until a professional advisory council is established to ensure that the 9/11 Memorial and Memorial Museum are not designed so that in full, it invokes further trauma, especially to children.

It is clearly established that repeated viewing of graphic images and accounts of the horror associated with trauma can re-evoke the fear and stress associated with the traumatic event, and increase symptoms of post traumatic stress. Furthermore, it is also accepted as necessary that topics such as violence, terrorism and war be presented to children in such a manner as to explain AND reassure. When presenting details or imagery about a violent or devastating event, children must also be given information as to what is being done to prevent a recurrence of the event; as well as support to foster a sense of hope, not fear, for their future.

The 9/11 Memorial Museum as envisioned by the most outspoken of the “Take Back the Memorial” organization does not address these issues and concerns. It is a not a memorial akin to the Vietnam memorial, where names are listed and statues of soldiers and nurses stand on the border. It is a concept that suggests a museum filled with graphic carnage that exceeds by far anything on display at any other American Museum. If programmed as these family groups seem to propose, there will be little that children will be able to view without recounting the devastation of the day. Even the stories of heroism and support will be linked to the destruction and loss. The Museum content promises to instill rekindled fear and feelings of grief without providing a haven of safety or security -- difficult for most adults to process and certainly unsuitable for children.

We do not believe this is the appropriate Memorial as dictated by the 9/11 Memorial Mission Statement, nor do we believe it is one that is proposed in the best interests of all who will visit, particularly children. We do not oppose the inclusion of artifacts and remnants in a portion of the memorial that children can avoid; but we stand firmly against the memorial being primarily a display of the death, loss, and devastation of the day. Such a view is, in fact, in conflict with the earliest plans proposed by the Families’ Advisory Council’s program committee which emphasized instruction and positive experiences for the youthful visitors.

We again urge the LMDC to take immediate steps to assure that all future planning includes consultation with disaster psychologists and pediatric trauma specialists, not to mention appropriate vetting. We remain disturbed that NY-area politicians continue to give credence to highly vocal family members without regard to the well-being of their smallest and most silent constituents, the children.

Children of September 11




Tuesday's Children

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