9/11 unidentified remains return to Ground Zero; some families protest
Some family members of those killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks picketed Saturday morning as the city transported the unidentified remains to be interred at a Ground Zero museum.
Not all the families of 9/11 victims oppose the plan, but those who do are in Manhattan to object that putting the remains underground at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum is unseemly. They would prefer that the remains go from the city medical examiner's office to a nearby memorial plaza.
"This is how I am going to spend my Mother's Day weekend," Rosemary Cain, of Massapequa, said earlier this month. Her son George Cain, 35, an FDNY firefighter, died in the collapse of the Twin Towers in 2001. "On Mother's Day I will be thinking about my precious son who will be brought to the bowels of this museum. It's so unfair. I am tired and bitterly disappointed."
The solemn procession began at 6:45 a.m. Saturday as three flag-draped coffins filled with unidentified remains left the city medical examiner's office and were transported to Ground Zero in FDNY, NYPD and Port Authority vehicles.
As the coffins were lifted out of the vehicles, members of the FDNY's Ladder Company 10, Engine Company 10, stood in formation outside of their firehouse. The firehouse lost six members in the terrorist attacks.
A half-dozen family members of victims attempted to question an official from the medical examiner's office, but their inquiries were ignored.
Rose Foti, whose son, Robert, a firefighter from Ladder Company 7, Engine Company 16, in Manhattan died in the attacks, said she is unhappy with the decision to move the remains.
"Half of my son is in the Staten Island garbage dump and the other half is in a museum," Foti said of her son's remains.
Lee Ielpi of Great Neck, a firefighter whose 29-year-old son, Jonathan, also a firefighter was killed in the attacks, is in favor of the plan -- and thinks the protesting is wrong.
"I'm fine with the fact that they will be placed in a repository at bedrock," he said. "We show the nation -- the world -- that this is the way we treat our dead: in a respectful way, in a procession, brought back there."
He said he would favor the plan even if his son's remains had not been recovered and returned to the family in the aftermath of the attacks.
"I would feel the same way," he said, adding that he doesn't want the world to see protests at such a solemn occasion.
"I don't think it sits right. I don't."
With Robert Brodsky