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Coalition of  9-11 Families Appeals for Preservation of  WTC 'Footprints' as Historic Landmark


A coalition of victims' families are nominating the bedrock beneath the site of the twin towers of the World Trade Center as a national historic landmark. The group is calling on President Bush for help.

The Coalition of 9-11 Families does not oppose efforts to revitalize the World Trade Center site. But the group says the so-called footprints of the towers should be preserved intact as part of the future memorial at the site.

Original plans to preserve the bedrock 21 meters down - the so-called "footprints" of the towers - have been modified. The new plans set the memorial boundaries at 9 meters below ground. The Port Authority, the two-state agency that owns the land, is planning on using sections of the bedrock for the infrastructure of the transportation hub currently under construction at the site.

Anthony Gardner, a spokesperson for the group, lost his brother in the September 11, 2001 attack. He announced the Coalition of 9-11 Families has submitted the necessary documentation to the U.S. Department of Interior to have the bedrock declared a National Historic landmark, which means, essentially, it can not be touched. According to Mr. Gardner, the site meets the criteria for landmark designation.

"One of the criteria appears to have been written just for the World Trade Center site footprints: 'A site of a building or structure that is no longer standing but the person or event associated with it is of transcendent importance to the nation's history,'" he said. "On September 11, the World Trade Center became the site of the worst attack in U.S. history against civilians on American soil, resulting in the deaths of approximately two thousand 729 innocent men, women and children."

Many of the families view the bedrock as the final resting place for their loved ones. Approximately 45 percent of the victims of the attack on the World Trade Center have yet to be identified. The New York City Medical Examiner's office recently said as many as 1,000 will probably never be identified.

Landmark designation can be a time consuming process so the group has called on President Bush to help expedite the process. And they have called on all Americans to wear yellow and black ribbons to show support for the effort.

The field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where one of the airplanes hijacked on September 11 crashed, killing 40 passengers and crew members, has already been declared a national memorial. But the World Trade Center site is one of the most expensive pieces of real estate in the world and the developer is anxious to begin rebuilding. Debate between the Port Authority, the developer, architects, area residents and the families has intensified with the approach of the second anniversary of the attack and plans to finalize the design for the future of the site.

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