FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Edith Lutnick (212) 294-7852
September 11th Families Kick-off National Campaign Appealing to the American People to Urge Change at Ground Zero Memorial
New York, N.Y., January 24, 2007 – Family members of relatives lost in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 representing major 9/11 family organizations held a press conference today in New York City and unveiled a national media campaign asking the American people to help them “Save the 9/11 Memorial” at Ground Zero. Family leaders object to current plans that will list most of the names of 2,979 people who perished in the attacks of 2001 and 1993 without reference to age, affiliation, location and, in the case of uniformed service members, rank. The group plans to place 60 second television ads in New York City markets.
The campaign’s first ad, entitled “Missing at the Memorial,” features the familiar images of the missing flyers which were posted all over New York City in the attack’s immediate aftermath by relatives of the victims and which identified their loved ones by age, company, and floor location in the World Trade Center. The flyers became the first spontaneous memorials embraced by the public. The ad says that Mayor R. Bloomberg, chairman of the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation, wants a “cold, random list of names.” Families and former co-workers contend that the current plan to list victims without any personal references, and in an order intended to appear random, robs victims of the human qualities that rallied and sustained the nation. The 9/11 groups believe that narrative information associated with the names will enable future generations to better appreciate how the historic attacks were actually experienced by the country.
“We do not accept that these people died ‘randomly,’ or ‘in no discernable order’ which to future visitors will be exactly the same thing,” said Edith Lutnick, whose brother Gary, 36, worked for the firm of Cantor Fitzgerald on the 104th floor of the North Tower. “Turning human beings into featureless casualties is a distortion of history. Instead of conveying the story of 9/11, this memorial will express the dark point of view of the terrorists who murdered them.”
Family members believe that leaving the 2,400 mostly civilian victims without affiliations and in no discernable order, creates a two-tier memorial consisting of flesh and blood people on the one hand and anonymous casualties on the other. The disparity is particularly painful for families of more than 1,000 victims whose remains were never recovered.
The families and representatives of uniformed service associations contend that World Trade Center Memorial Foundation is building an extravagant memorial that will not resonate with visitors because it does not convey the attacks in personal terms. They believe that leaving the civilians without identification diminishes the noble sacrifice of first responders because it ignores the people whom they gave their lives to save.
Family members said that identifying group affiliations for New York City first responders is a step in the right direction, but stripping them of their rank is a slap in the face to their service and sacrifice. 100 officers, including Chief of the Department Peter J. Ganci, Jr. were among the 343 members of the FDNY who perished.
“My brother, Capt. Billy Burke with Engine 21, didn’t send his men into those towers,” said Michael Burke, who spoke at the press conference, “he led them in. And he did not leave, telling a friend who begged him to get out after tower two fell, ‘This is my job, this is who I am.’ How will visitors get a sense of that, if we don’t tell them?”
Family organizers, survivors and representatives of uniformed service personnel are asking the public to come to the website, Save the Memorial, and sign their online petition asking that the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation list the names of the victims in the manner leaders of 32 family groups and representative supported in a 2004 agreement.
The :60 ad can be view by logging onto www.savethe911memorial.com
About the Organizers: The following September 11 victims family organizations supported today’s press conference: Advocates for 9/11 Fallen Heroes, Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund, Coalition of 9/11 Families, Give Your Voice, 9/11 Families for Safe & Strong America, Skyscraper Safety Campaign, Take Back the Memorial, W. Doyle Support Group, Voices of September 11, Where to Turn, WTC Families for Proper Burial, WTC Family Center, World Trade Center United Family Group.
To speak with any of the leaders of these respective groups, please call:
Edith Lutnick at Save the 9/11 Memorial (212) 294-7852