Families of those killed in the 9/11 attacks who oppose placing unidentified remains of victims inside the National September 11 Memorial Museum will protest the Saturday transfer from the medical examiner’s office.
"This is how I am going to spend my Mother's Day weekend,” said Rosemary Cain, who wept as she talked about the loss of her son George Cain, 35, an FDNY firefighter who died in the collapse of the Twin Towers. "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.”
Cain said she has received only partial remains of her son.
Norman Siegel, a lawyer for relatives of Ground Zero victims, said a survey of 300 families asking about putting remains in the museum showed that 94.6 percent were against it.
They “said 'no' to the remains being put in the museum and that human remains should be in a place of reverence,” Siegel said, during a news conference at the 1010 FDNY firehouse at Ground Zero and attended by several victims’families.
“The museum is a commercial venture not a cemetery.”
Saturday morning, unidentified remains will be carried in a procession by NYPD, FDNY and Port Authority vehicles from the medical examiner's office where they have been since the attacks to the museum. Opponents said they will picket nearby as the procession arrives.
An opponents letter to President Obama asked him to intervene and convince Mayor Bill de Blasio to poll all 9/11 families as to whether the museum is an appropriate resting place.
In a statement, a spokesman for De Blasio said the mayor has no plans to stop the placing of the remains in the museum.
"The de Blasio Administration is implementing the remains transfer plan it inherited from the previous Administration,” according to the statement by de Blasio press secretary Phil Walzak. “Our administration has engaged the community of 9/11 families continuously since entering office four months ago.”
The city maintains the remains need to be placed at the museum because a medical examiner's office will be installed in the basement to continue identification efforts. The office will be fully staffed and operational with DNA testing equipment, Walzak said.
Monica Iken-Murphy, whose husband Michael died in the South Tower, said that because the museum will house the identification office and is at Ground Zero, it is an appropriate location. After the remains can no longer be identified she supports having them placed on the memorial plaza, which opponents support.
Retired FDNY Chief Jim Riches, whose son died in the collapsed towers, said the remains should be “at the plaza where it will be open and free for the public to pay their respects.''