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Rebuilding NYC - Testimonies From The 2003 Public Hearings
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Gotham Gazette

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Citizens Union

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Rebuilding NYC






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Respect The Dead, Not the Deadline


Diane Horning, WTC Families for Proper Burial

The group I represent, WTC Families for Proper Burial, wants to let the public know and wants to remind the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation that human tissue remains, including those of my 26-year old son, are still in Fresh Kills, a city garbage dump. We demand the return of human tissue from Fresh Kills be buried as part of the memorial at the World Trade Center. Our demands have not yet been addressed. You have said that you are going to have a kind of tomb of the unknown, but only with the remains that are now at the medical examiner's building. It must also include what is at Fresh Kills.

The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation has put the cart before the horse, setting an arbitrary deadline for the site plan, before memorial plans have been accepted, even after promising that the memorial would drive everything else. The design of the memorial is important but so is the space to which it is allotted, which is being arbitrarily designated first.

A young man signing our online petition wrote, "We have a choice: respect the dead, or respect the deadline." You seem to be respecting only the deadline. The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation should carefully consider the Coalition of 9/11 Families and the plan that they have proposed for the nine-acre memorial. It's thoughtful, inclusive and reasonable. There should be no arguments about burying our dead with dignity. Who among you feels that the city garbage dump makes for an appropriate cemetery? Be careful. The world is watching us. We must make a moral, humane and dignified decision.

I also feel that, as Oklahoma City showed us, and if we're wise enough, we should honor those who survived this horrific nightmare. Remember that you have used the words "sacred space." You must treat it as sacred space, not just give us lip service. It is sacred space. Thank you.

Laura Walker, Rockland County resident and widow

The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation is completely ignoring the subject of Fresh Kills. I understand why everything was brought there by the city. But you know what? When the city brought everything there, they said it would be kept separate and containerized. That wasn't done. I attended a City Hall meeting chaired by someone named Michael McMahon. And a man from the Department of Waste Engineering or something was asked very specifically what decision was made by the people who worked at Fresh Kills about the possibility of having to move those remains back to the World Trade Center or some other site. And his answer on October 22, 2002 was that no one had ever asked him that before, that the subject had never come up. How is that possible? The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation is supposed to be helpful to all families. How is it possible that you can make my husband's remains stay at Fresh Kills?

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Gotham Gazette is published by Citizens Union Foundation and is made possible by support from the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Altman Foundation,the Fund for the City of New York and donors to Citizens Union Foundation. Please consider supporting Citizens Union Foundation's public education programs. Critical early support to Gotham Gazette was provided by the Charles H. Revson Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

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