Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

Hundreds of firefighters and family members of rescue workers who died on September 11 packed the Tribeca Performing Arts Center on May 28, urging the members of the jury selecting a 9/11 memorial that the design must list the affiliations of rescue workers who died in the World Trade Center attacks. Some, holding up signs that said, "They went in together, let them stay together," said that the firefighters who died should be listed together with the members of their company, not listed alphabetically.

"If it wasn't for them, you would need twice as much space for a memorial because there would be twice as many victims," said Chris Ganci, whose father, Chief of the Fire Department Pete Ganci, died on 9/11.

Other victim's family members said the memorial should not show some victims as more worthy of recognition. "Please ensure that the truth of the day is told, honestly and equally," Julie Boryczewski, whose younger brother, a trader at Cantor Fitzgerald, died on 9/11, told the jury. "Once separations are made, integrity is lost within the whole."

The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation's guidelines say that the memorial should "honor the loss of life equally and the contributions of all without establishing any hierarchies," but the memorial competition's rules do not specifically bar designers from including a victim's job, rank or title.

Others at the hearing told jury members to use different criteria when chosing a design. Carl Weisbrod, president of the Alliance for Downtown New York and a development corporation board member, said that the jury should chose a design that brings Daniel Libeskind's plan for a sunken memorial space up to street level.

The deadline for registering to enter the design competition was May 29. Over 13,000 people registered, more than any design competition in history. They will have until June 30 to submit their designs, and the jury will spend the rest of the summer evaluating them.

"I would urge the jury to prefer designs that really go the extra mile in creating ways for future visitors to experience each of these individual people," said Michael Kuo, a victim's family member who works at Imagine New York, "so that they can know how special my father was, and how special everyone who was lost was."