Political Infighting Over 9/11 Museum Disrespects A National Tragedy

New York Mayor, Michael Bloomberg and the State’s Governor. Andrew Cuomo don’t get along together, at the best of times.  However their lengthily inability to join forces and work together, for an international cause as enormous as the 9/11 museum, was a disgraceful action that should bring shame on their records as politicians . The $1 billion National 9/11 Memorial and Museum which was set to open its doors in 2009, has been delayed and delayed. It now it looks as if it will not open to the public for at least another year or more.

The museum was originally slated to be dedicated in 2009 but inter-office fighting between the Port Authority budget, which is State and the 9/11 Foundation that runs the museum, put Bloomberg and Cuomo at opposite ends of the room. The Mayor, chairman of the 9/11 Foundation, asked the Port Authority to cover the lions share of the costs, to the tune of $300 million in construction costs. The Governor of NY along with the State of New Jersey Governor,  Chris Christie are in control of the Port Authority and didn’t want give carte blanche to the Museum directors. The NY PA wanted to exercise day-to-day control over the entire World Trade Centre project. This seemingly included the museum.

In the meantime the doors of the structure, which is nearly complete remains closed to the public. There is also another dispute arising from the predicted $20 admission fee to the museum. The fight is now over control of the cash, with who’s going to get the money, out of what the project generates. Some think, none of them should make money off the “worst day in American history.”

Although the latest news on the dispute, that has delayed the opening of the National September 11 Memorial Museum has been allegedly resolved, according to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo the museum is still years behind schedule. On Monday, all parties apparently entered into a “memorandum of understanding,” an agreement that allows them to restart construction on the stalled museum project. But has the damage already been done and it doesn’t address the need for a ‘free’ memorial museum to honour the dead of America’s greatest tragedy.

The National September 11 Memorial Museum will serve as the country’s principal institution for examining the implications of the events of 9/11, documenting the impact of those events and exploring the continuing significance of September 11, 2001. The Museum’s 110,000 square feet of exhibition space will be located within the archaeological heart of the World Trade Center site—telling the story of 9/11 through multimedia displays, archives, narratives and a collection of monumental and authentic artifacts. The lives of every victim of the 2001 and 1993 attacks will be commemorated as visitors have the opportunity to learn about the men, women, and children who died. The monumental artifacts of the Museum provide a link to the events of 9/11, while presenting intimate stories of loss, compassion, reckoning, and recovery that are central to telling the story of the attacks and the aftermath.

Alice M. Greenwald Executive Vice President for Programs Director, Memorial Museum stated in a letter that the National September 11 Memorial & Museum are being built to honor memory and in doing so to educate for a better future. Providing visitors with access to the historic assets preserved at the World Trade Center site, the Museum will display both the monumental artefacts associated with the events of 9/11 and focus on the human dimension of history by narrating the personal stories behind these events.

In remembering the victims of the attacks and honoring those who went to their rescue, the Museum will explore the very real impact of terrorism in the lives of very real people, and their families, friends, colleagues and communities. As custodian of memory, the Museum will take on the mantle of moral authority that will define its continuing and evolving role. This Museum will do nothing less than underscore the absolute illegitimacy of indiscriminate murder. It has been said that memorials are the way people make promises to the future about the past. By demonstrating the consequences of terrorism on individual lives and communities, it is our hope that the National September 11 Memorial Museum can embody the promise of a world in which it should be impossible for people to go to work in the morning only to get caught in the vortex of terrorism.

The Museum will be about each of us, about what it means to be a human being, and what it means to live in a complex, global community at the start of the 21st century. It will, we hope, be a place for understanding ourselves and the world in which we live, a place for promising the kind of world we want to bequeath of our children and grandchildren. Davis Brody Bond (DBB) was chosen to be Associate Architect for the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, Reflecting Absence. DBB is working with the Design Team of Michael Arad and Peter Walker in the realisation of the design for the Memorial. DBB is the lead architect on the Memorial Museum.

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