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9/11 survivors shut out of anniversary

Work continues on the National September 11 Memorial

Work continues on the National September 11 Memorial at the World Trade Center site. (July 15, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

Survivors of the 9/11 attacks are being shut out of this year's 10th anniversary memorial service.

The office of Mayor Michael Bloomberg had to turn away survivors because of limited space at the memorial site, said Andrew Brent, a mayoral spokesman.

"We expect more family members [of victims] this year," Brent said, adding that in the past several years the number of family members attending the memorial service had declined. He said because there is limited space at the memorial site, family members of those who died in the attacks get priority.

A representative of a support group for survivors of the attacks said there was plenty of time to make arrangements to allow for family members and survivors to attend the September event.

"This does not surprise me that there will be a lot more people this year, however, they should have made more room," said Richard Zimbler of the World Trade Center Survivors Network.

The organization's members include residents who ran from their apartments and got caught in the dust cloud, and office workers who escaped the burning towers and surrounding high-rises.

Since 2004, about 90 network members have attended the memorial services at Ground Zero, Zimbler said.

"It's a ridiculous situation,"' said Zimbler, adding that the theme of the 10th anniversary ceremony honors the city's resilience.

"Who better to represent the resilience of this city than those who stayed in the neighborhood and those who returned to work after the attacks? Many survivors are insulted."

To help compensate survivors who live in lower Manhattan and were unable to attend the anniversary event, the September 11 Memorial & Museum will reserve the first Sundays from October through January for them only, said Michael Frazier, spokesman for the memorial and museum.

The museum offered passes to the public on the Internet on a first-come first-served basis for Sept. 12, when the memorial officially opens to the public. The memorial has a capacity of 1,500.

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