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April 5, 2011

9/11 victims' relatives slam plan to put remains at museum

The Chicago Sun-Times

NEW YORK — Some relatives of victims who died a decade ago at the World Trade Center decried a plan Sunday to place more than 9,000 unidentified pieces of human remains at a subterranean site at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

A plan that would locate the unclaimed and unidentified remains seven stories below ground behind a wall featuring a quote from Virgil is unacceptable, they said. "The families here today say no," said the families' attorney, Norman Siegel.

"They believe that the remains should be placed in a respectful and accessible location, such as something akin to the Tomb of the Unknowns above ground and separate from the museum." The families might consider legal action in the future but have no current plans to sue, Siegel said. Sally Regenhard, whose firefighter-son Christian died at the World Trade Center, contended that families had not been consulted about where the remains would be placed and felt the proposed location was disrespectful.

She said city and museum officials have never formally informed relatives of those killed about the plans. Rosemary Cain, whose firefighter-son George also died Sept. 11 agreed. "The families have a right to consultation," Cain said. "It's a disgrace, and it's wrong."

However, Christy Ferer, who lost her husband in the terror attacks and worked as a liaison for Mayor Michael Bloomberg with 9/11 families, said the location was done at the behest of families. "They wanted them placed as close to bedrock as possible," Ferer said in a telephone interview.

She said there were numerous meetings over the years about the museum and memorial. The remains will be placed in the memorial section of the facility, and relatives of those who died will have private access, she said. "The outreach we did on this is voluminous," she said."

Copyright 2011 Sun-Times Media, LLC

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