The remains of 1,100 unidentified 9/11 victims were moved from the New York Medical Examiner’s office to a repository at Ground Zero on Saturday. Forensic experts had been working on identifying victims from the almost 8,000 bags of remains, however only 41% of the 2,753 victims have been identified and only 4 were positively identified from the remains in the last year.
While the remains have been moved, officials say that this will not stop the efforts to identify the victims. “The repository provides a dignified and reverential setting for the remains to repose – temporarily or in perpetuity – as the work to identify the 9/11 victims continues,” said the medical examiner’s office in a statement. There are no current plans for testing the remains that have been moved, however as forensic technology develops, future identifications are hoped for.
— Chicago Tribune (@chicagotribune) May 10, 2014
The decision to move the unidentified remains was made by former mayor Michael Bloomberg with the help of a consulting panel consisting of other city officials as well as families of 9/11 victims. The remains will not be on exhibit at the 9/11 Memorial Museum located at Ground Zero, but are placed adjacent to the memorial. Families will have access to a private room for reflection near the remains that is not open to the public.
While a select few amongst the victims’ families were consulted regarding the move, there were those at the procession protesting the decision. “We were never given the opportunity to say that we did not want them in a museum,” said Rosaleen Tallon, sister of fallen firefighter Sean Tallon. “A museum is not a cemetery,” read another protestor’s sign. Sally Reganhard, vice president of a group of 9/11 victims’ families said, “We are outraged. There is anger and anguish. It’s an insult and a sacrilege. The city has refused to survey the families of the victims to get their opinion because they know the majority is against this plan.”
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) May 10, 2014
The New York Medical Examiner’s office will continue to control access to the remains and the repository will be sealed off to museum visitors. The museum is set to open on May 21st, however a week before the official opening victims’ families, survivors, and rescue workers will have access to the memorial.
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