9/11 Relatives Criticize Underground Memorial

Families want remains placed above ground

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Getty Images
    Aerial View of Ground Zero on September 22, 2001

    Some relatives of 9/11 victims Sunday blasted a plan to put more than 9,000 unidentified pieces of human remains underground at the site of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.
        
    Family members and supporters gathered just steps from Ground Zero to lobby city officials to find an honored place for the remains above ground.

    "We were always led to believe by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation that we would have a separate, above ground tomb-like structure," said Sally Regenhard, whose firefighter son, Christian, died at the World Trade Center.
        
    Regenhard said it's unacceptable to house unclaimed and unidentified remains seven stories below ground, behind a wall featuring a quote from Virgil.

    Instead, she and others want a separate facility built at the site, something akin to the Tomb of the Unknowns in Virginia's Arlington National Cemetery.
        
    "Family members here and all of the family members should have a say in the disposition of their loved ones remains," said the families' attorney, Norman Siegel.

    These relatives might consider legal action in the future but have no current plans to sue, Siegel said.

    "I demand from Mayor Bloomberg that all the families be instructed on what is happening here," said Maureen Santora, who lost her son Christopher in the attacks.

    However Christy Ferer, the mayor's liaison to the families, said there were numerous consultations with relatives about the placement of the remains. She said the location was chosen at their behest.

    "They wanted them placed as close to bedrock as possible," said Ferer, who lost her husband in the terror attacks. She said the families will have private access to the area to grieve.

    A museum spokesman did not immediately comment.