A Lady's Ruminations

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

Thursday, September 29, 2005

"Too much opposition, too much controversy."

The controversial (and just plain wrong) International Freedom Center will not be at Ground Zero, thank God.

The Washington Post has an article about the whole thing entitled, "Museum Dropped From WTC Site for Now---

NEW YORK -- Bowing to pressure from Sept. 11 families, Gov. George Pataki on Wednesday removed a proposed freedom center from the space reserved for it near the planned World Trade Center memorial, saying the museum project had aroused "too much opposition, too much controversy."

Pataki initially said the state would help the International Freedom Center find another home, but center officials said they weren't interested and considered the project dead.

Pataki said a planned cultural building meant for the freedom center would now tell only the story of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The Lower Manhattan Development Corp., created by Pataki and former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to rebuild the trade center site, will work on Sept. 11-related content for the building, LMDC spokesman John Gallagher said.

The decision followed months of acrimony, with some Sept. 11 families and politicians saying the freedom center would overshadow and take space from the separate memorial devoted to the 2,749 World Trade Center dead and would dishonor them by fostering debate about the attacks and other world events.

"Freedom should unify us. This center has not," Pataki said. "Today there remains too much opposition, too much controversy over the programming of the IFC. ... We must move forward with our first priority, the creation of an inspiring memorial to pay tribute to our lost loved ones and tell their stories to the world."

International Freedom Center officials said in a statement that they did not believe there was a viable location for their museum elsewhere at the site.

"We consider our work, therefore, to have been brought to an end," they said.
Here is the press release from the 9/11 Families who are part of Take Back the Memorial:

Alliance of 15 Major 9/11 Family Groups Says: Thank You, Governor!

New York, N.Y.---September 29, 2005---The alliance of 15 major 9/11 family groups applauds the decision by Governor George E. Pataki to remove the International Freedom Center (IFC) from the World Trade Center Memorial site. Responding to concerns voiced by 9/11 families and New York City's first responders that the IFC would dilute and detract from the history of the 9/11 attacks and engage in controversial programming which would dishonor the victims on a site dedicated to their memory, the governor demanded that the IFC be moved elsewhere.

We are deeply grateful to Governor Pataki for taking this decisive action after the IFC issued its latest report on their plans for the center. We believe he did so after giving its organizers a fair opportunity to demonstrate that their institution would respectfully fulfill the memorial's mission.

We also appreciate the important bi-partisan support of Senator Hillary Clinton, Congressmen Peter King, Vito Fossella and John Sweeney, as well as the support of the UFA, FASNY, UFOA, PBA, Rudy Giuliani and others who all understood that this memorial belongs to all Americans, and that we have a public trust to future generations who will come to this site hoping to pay their respects and learn the important story of that day, a day of heartbreaking loss, uncommon valor and the coming together of a nation.

We look forward to their continued support as we pursue our common goal of ensuring that from the ashes of the World Trade Center site rises a 9/11 Memorial and Museum on a Memorial site dedicated solely to the stories of September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993 and their aftermath with enough space to accommodate visitors safely and tell the story fully. As the future of the Memorial site is honed, the tactic of portraying the 9/11 families as divided must end. The goal is clear. The mission joined by the majority. We sincerely hope that the LMDC and the WTC Memorial Foundation will not ignore these voices as we attempt to resolve the outstanding issues in unity.

We and the tens of thousands of supporters who fought for this memorial did so, not because we wish to turn these few acres in Lower Manhattan into a cemetery or convert the site into one of enduring sadness. We did so because of our unshakable belief that this is Sacred Ground, that the truth should be told there, and that the core values of our nation will be amply demonstrated by the lives remembered, the deeds done and the spirit reawakened.
Please visit Take Back the Memorial to sign a petition and find more information about the organization and their fight to honor their families.