Why victims' families are furious about 9/11 Memorial Museum

Why victims' families are furious about 9/11 Memorial Museum

Credit: Getty Images

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 15: An image of one of the original World Trade Center Towers is displayed in the window of the 9/11 Memorial Museum pavilion during the dedication ceremonyat the National September 11 Memorial Museum at ground zero May 15, 2014 in New York City. The museum spans seven stories, mostly underground, and contains artifacts from the attack on the World Trade Center Towers on September 11, 2001 that include the 80-foot high tridents, the so-called "Ground Zero Cross," the destroyed remains of Company 21's New York Fire Department Engine as well as smaller items such as letter that fell from a hijacked plane and posters of missing loved ones projected onto the wall of the museum. The museum will open to the public on May 21. (Photo by Anthony Behar-Pool/Getty Images)

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by Gio Benitez via Good Morning America

WHAS11.com

Posted on May 19, 2014 at 11:42 AM

(ABC NEWS) -- The 9/11 Memorial Museum, set to open to the public this Friday, is at the center of an intense debate.

The New York City-based museum costs $24 to enter, and the gift shop offers pricey coffee mugs, T-shirts, key chains and stuffed animals. A separate part of the museum also houses some 8,000 unidentified human remains from the terrorist attacks.

Those juxtapositions – tribute and commercialism, trinkets amid tragedy – have victims’ families fuming.

Jim Riches doesn’t plan on visiting. His son Jimmy, a firefighter, was 29 when he died in the attacks. It took more than six months to find some of Jimmy’s remains. The rest, Riches believes, are unidentified and in the repository.

“My son’s friends are going to have to pay $24 to go down and pay their respects,” Riches said. “I think that’s a disgrace. It’s the only cemetery in the world where you have to pay a fee to get in.”


ABC US News | International News Diane and Kurt Horning tells ABC News they’re appalled by what they’re calling “greed and commercialism.” They lost their son Matt Horning in the twin towers and his remains were never found.

“I wouldn’t expect such an intrusion at Arlington Cemetery or at the Pentagon Memorial or at any cemetery,” they said.

In a statement, museum representatives tell ABC News that the museum receives no government funding and “relies on private fundraising, gracious donations and revenue from ticketing and carefully selected keepsake items for retail.”

Attorney Norman Siegel, who represents several of the victims' relatives, thinks there’s an easy solution to the controversy.

“Take the remains out of the museum and then I think there will be less opposition to the selling of the trinkets and the hats and shirts,” Siegel said.

For more stories from ABC News click here.

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