Monday, June 04, 2012

The Rebuilding of Ground Zero, Part 162

Despite the fact that there's been no work done on the WTC 9/11 Museum for months, that doesn't mean that the fight over what the museum will contain and display hasn't continued.

I find it mind-boggling that there's a fight over whether to include photos of the 19 Islamic terrorists who carried out the attacks. We need to see the faces of those who are responsible. It's like having a museum about the Holocaust and not including any of the names and faces of the key Nazi officials behind the Wanasee Conference and the orders to carry out genocide against the Jewish people.

Displaying the photos is necessary and critical to the museum's mission to reflect what happened before, during, and after the 9/11 terror attacks.
New York City’s fire chief protested that such a display would “honor” the terrorists who destroyed the World Trade Center. A New York Post editorial called the idea “appalling.” Groups representing rescuers, survivors and victims’ families asked how anyone could even think of showing the faces of the men who killed their relatives, colleagues and friends.

The anger took some museum officials by surprise.

“You don’t create a museum about the Holocaust and not say that it was the Nazis who did it,” said Joseph Daniels, chief executive of the memorial and museum foundation.

Such are the exquisite sensitivities that surround every detail in the creation of the National September 11 Memorial Museum, which is being built on land that many revere as hallowed ground. During eight years of planning, every step has been muddied with contention. There have been bitter fights over the museum’s financing, which have delayed its opening until at least next year, as well as continuing arguments over its location, seven stories below ground; which relics should be exhibited; and where unidentified human remains should rest.

Even the souvenir key chains to be sold in the gift shop have become a focus of rancor.

But nothing has been more fraught than figuring out how to tell the story.
The entire process has been an absolute mess, as my ongoing Rebuilding of Ground Zero series (and the preceding Battle for Ground Zero) has detailed for nearly a decade. Every proposed move has been scrutinized and yet key details are likely to get short shrift.

Yet, I think the most important detail that has yet to be worked out is the one that has tremendous symbolic meaning. After all, we're talking about the National September 11 Memorial Museum, and yet museum officials are contemplating imposing entry fees to defray the costs for operating the museum. That's absolute hogwash, and Congress needs to set aside the necessary funds to make sure that the museum is free to the public.

Future generations need unfettered access to the site to understand what happened, what was lost, and what the ongoing effects are on those who went to Ground Zero to help with the rescue and recovery operations.

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