A Lady's Ruminations

"Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right." -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Thursday, September 15, 2005

More from Take Back the Memorial

From Take Back the Memorial---

September 15, 2005
Contact: Anthony Gardner
Coalition of 9/11 Families
(973) 216-2623

15 Major 9/11 Family Groups Reject LMDC Mediation Plan

New York, N.Y.—September 15, 3005—The alliance of 15 major 9/11 family organizations was stunned to learn through the media last week and not from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation of their plans to engage in mediated talks with 9/11 family members about the presence of the International Freedom Center on the World Trade Center memorial site. According to the media, the LMDC’s stated purpose in hiring an outside mediator was to facilitate ‘conversations that might otherwise not happen.” We hasten to point out that individual and collective members of the 9/11 family groups, along with of citizens from the Lower Manhattan community and other interested parties, have been meeting in good faith at LMDC-sponsored forums for more than three years. The last such meeting, held by the Civic Alliance for Rebuilding Lower Manhattan, took place just two days ago. If anything, the LMDC has once again demonstrated that it does not understand the difference between having meetings and actually listening to the public.

The LMDC appears not to understand that the objection, in principle, to the presence of the IFC on the World Trade Center site is no longer a matter that can be resolved by 9/11 family groups alone. They have been joined by the 22,000 members of ‘New York’s Bravest”–the Uniformed Firefighters Association– which lost 343 of its active members and three of its retired members in the 9/11 attacks, as well as the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York, the state’s largest firefighter organization consisting of 110,000 volunteer firefighters, many of whom participated in the rescue and recovery effort at Ground Zero. These organizations are also joined by more than 46,000 people from all over the country who have signed an online petition calling for the LMDC to remove the IFC and the Drawing Center from the memorial site. We anticipate that the growing list of organizations joining this fight for a proper memorial will increase these numbers exponentially in the coming days.

The LMDC’s stubborn refusal to acknowledge this wider rejection of the IFC mirrors its denial of other critical problems with the larger memorial and memorial museum plans. Constantly fuzzy and, curiously, always reduced projections on the millions of people per year who will visit the memorial do not add up when compared to other major memorials around the country such as the Statue of Liberty. The LMDC cannot demonstrate that the memorial itself and the underground museum on the site will be able to accommodate visitors without having to turn away millions per year and thousands daily. Nor can it demonstrate that it can safely and securely send 20,000 people underground every day, much less through one entrance and one exit.

Additionally, the LMDC cannot show how precious 9/11 artifacts and the momentous story of the worst attack in the history of our nation can all be contained in a cramped underground space which will also house train tracks, a PATH terminal, loading platforms, passageways, waterfalls, ventilation shafts, soil and root systems from the forest above and infrastructure for a massive cooling plant below. In short, the problem of space may ultimately be the most practical reason not to allocate 300,000 square feet of space to any entity other than the memorial and the memorial museum. To do so will bring dishonor to the lost, discord to the living and disunity to the country.

By creating yet another deaf and redundant ‘process” from which they are removed, the LMDC and Governor George Pataki are simply delaying resolution of an issue which has been clearly laid out before them, as well as wasting time and resources that could be better spent addressing other compelling problems that must be solved before the first shovel is sunk into sacred ground. The time is long overdue for civic and political leaders to act. The IFC must go.

Advocates for 9/11 Fallen Heroes (rjtallon@cs.com, jale131@hotmail.com, 159e85@aol.com)
Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund
Coalition of 9/11 Families
Fix the Fund
Give Your Voice
Margie Miller 9/11 Support Group (WTCFamilyCenter@aol.com)
9/11 Families for a Safe & Strong America
9/11 Families for a Secure America
September 11th Families Association
September’s Mission Foundation
Skyscraper Safety Campaign
Voices of September 11th
W. Doyle 9/11 Support Group
WTC Families for Proper Burial, Inc.
World Trade Center United Family Group