News / USA

September 11 Museum in New York Still Unfinished

National 9/11 Museum at Standstill as Anniversary Nearsi
|| 0:00:00
X
September 05, 2012
Eleven years after the September 11 terror attacks leveled the World Trade Center, work on a museum at the site, which was to open on the anniversary this year, has stopped - because of financial and power disputes. At the same time, family members of some of the victims are fighting the museum’s plan to preserve unidentified human remains in an underground repository. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver reports.
TEXT SIZE - +
Carolyn Weaver
— More than 4 million people have visited the September 11 Memorial in New York City since it opened last year on the 10th anniversary of the terror attacks on New York and Washington, D.C.  Visitors from around the world come to watch the waterfalls rush into the deep footprints of the former World Trade Center Twin Towers and to read the names of those who died, etched in bronze panels surrounding the pools.

But work on the September 11 Museum at the site, which was to open in time for Tuesday's ceremonies marking the 11th anniversary of the attacks, stopped months ago because of financial disputes between the private foundation that owns the Memorial & Museum, and the public Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the World Trade Center site.

Then, late Monday, it was announced that foundation and the government agency reached financial and control agreements that will allow construction to resume within weeks, with a possible opening date late in 2013. 
 
The museum’s steel and glass entry hall is built, but its interior is unfinished, and a sign outside warns visitors away.  Monica Iken, whose husband, Michael, died in the attacks, calls the impasse a disgrace.

"It’s an embarrassment for the world to see," she said.  "They come there, and I’ve been there several times where people come up to me and say, 'Where’s the museum, why is it not open?'  How do you explain that: 'Oh, because we’re fighting over some money?'"

Museum renderings show visitors entering under huge trident beams from the original buildings, and taking escalators down to cavernous galleries that will hold damaged rescue vehicles and a set of stairs down which some survivors fled.  Photographic and sound exhibits will tell the stories of that day and memorialize each of the nearly 3,000 people who died.  There will also be displays telling the story of al-Qaida and the terrorist plotters -- although some family members of those who died, like Jim Riches, who lost his firefighter son Jimmy, think those should be limited to side displays in kiosks.

"If you want to see their pictures, let them go into the kiosk and look at their picture," he said.  "But I think you've made it more like a Hall of Fame for the terrorists, and that's the way I feel, by putting their pictures up there."

Museum officials, who refused to be interviewed, reportedly have carefully considered how to present a history that might be traumatic for some visitors, particularly children.  They have deleted images that are too graphic or that show an individual victim’s identity.  The foundation reportedly plans to charge an admission fee of $25, although the memorial will remain free of charge.

But it is a collection that will never be shown that has caused the fiercest controversy -- a refrigerated repository for 9,000 unidentified fragments of human bone and tissue, now held in the New York medical examiner's offices.  It will be seven stories underground, and off-limits to all but family members of the victims and the medical examiner.  Museum visitors will see only a vast wall bearing a quotation from the Roman poet Virgil:  “No day shall erase you from the memory of time.”

But Jim Riches and members of 16 other victims' families are suing.  He said that only a few family members were consulted by the September 11 Memorial & Museum Foundation about their wishes.  His group wants to poll all of the families on the issue.  Riches says he thinks that most would choose to visit the unidentified remains at a tomb above ground, and not as part of the museum.

"There are no museums in the whole country that put human remains in the museum," Riches says.  "And you also would have to get the permission of the family members to do such a thing."  

Experts on the disposition of Native American bones agree, saying that control of human remains is for group members to decide.  Such a group would include virtually every family that lost a loved one in the World Trade Center attacks because only 40 percent have received even fragments of their loved ones' remains.

But other activists say the question was decided years ago in a consensus process that all the families were welcome to join.

Charles G. Wolf, whose wife, Katherine, died in the attacks, said the families agreed that unidentified remains should be interred "at bedrock," between the footprints of the fallen Twin Towers.  "What they're pushing for is to go against the agreements that we all agreed to back in 2003 and 2004," Wolf said.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, chairman of the foundation that owns the Memorial & Museum, says the museum repository is needed.  "One of the centerpieces of the museum, in terms of visibility and respect, is where you put the unidentified remains," he said.  "It is not just in a small place, it is in a facility that also has what the medical examiner thinks will be necessary down the road as technology gets better."

Norman Siegel, an attorney for the families who are suing, said that is unlikely.  "No remains have been identified since 2009," he said.

In late August, an atheists' group sued to stop the display of a steel beam cross that became a symbol for the recovery workers at Ground Zero.  The lawsuit contends that the display is an improper government endorsement of religion.  The foundation responded that it is a private, not governmental, organization, and that the cross will be displayed as a historical artifact, not as an object of veneration.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Memories
September 06, 2012 12:05 PM
Cherish the memories of those who died in this terrible tragedy.
Dont forget them - they were all very special to their families and friends. Sensitivity is required in dealing with matters arising and
perhaps the Government needs to become more involved in helping overcome them. All of you together are a strong nation.


by: bz from: Portland, OR
September 06, 2012 11:37 AM
The elephant in the room is the seething scandal beneath the events of 9/11 itself. Many rescue workers saw the evidence of demolitions, and many families think their relatives were killed by them. Sure, you can ban such comments as this and we shall go on denying the core of the problem around the 9/11 memorial, but there is too much evidence to suppress it forever. Good luck, America.

In Response

by: I_Was_There from: NYC
September 06, 2012 7:11 PM

Your conspiracy theories are pathetic and utterly shameful. Good luck with your sad efforts to give yourself a passion.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid