9/11 families: Finish memorial by Sept. 11, 2011

(Credit: Urbanite)

Family members of victims killed in the attack on the World Trade Center released a strongly-worded letter Thursday urging the Port Authority to keep to its original timetable and finish the 9/11 Memorial planned for the site by the tenth anniversary of the attacks.

"Having the Memorial open and accessible is important to us as family members, especially since so many of us were never able to bury our loved ones and this is the place we will go to mourn and reflect," the letter states.

"We believe that with the dedicated hearts and minds of all involved in the rebuilding, the Memorial can be publicly accessible and permanently open in three year's time."

Many observers have criticized the rebuilding of the World Trade Center to be too focused on the need for a patriotic response to the terrorist attacks instead of focusing on the city's needs for one of its most valued pieces of real estate.

The families still hold great emotional sway with many stakeholders, and many wondered how they would react to news that the memorial would be delayed.

Some have speculated that if the reaction was tame, other parts of the rebuilding that were announced after the attacks, such as 1,776 foot Freedom Tower, could be scaled back as well.

"2011 is a realistic date, all they have to do is make the decision," said Thomas Roger, whose daughter, Jean Roger, was a flight attendant on American Airlines 11, which slammed into the North Tower.

The Memorial can not be completed until work on the PATH station is over with. Roger said that the Port Authority could meet its target date of 2011 regardless whether they decide to go ahead with the soaring Santiago Calatrava designed station or scale it back considerably, as long as a decision is made soon and work begun immediately.

"They know they can get it done, they don't want to make the hard political decision,," he said. "You can work it down to a cost per day based on their indecision."

In a statement, Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman responded, "We respect the families position and our working with all the stakeholders to move the Memorial and all the projects on the site forward as quickly as possible."

--David Freedlander

Tags: world trade center , 9/11 families , wtc memorial , manhattan , politics , City Living

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