Ground zero victims’ remains were carried on Saturday through the streets of Manhattan in a slow and somber procession during the early hours of the morning. The procession carried the remains of more than 1,100 victims from the Twin Towers terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
The decision to move the remains from their current location to a more reverential repository at the site of the attacks has caused not a little amount of debate as authorities struggle to handle and process the bags of pulverized bones of the victims and to positively identify them.
Before Saturday’s procession, nearly 8,000 small bags containing ground zero victims’ remains had been kept at the office of the city’s chief medical examiner, in a building about five miles from ground zero.
Even though in the last year, four more victims’ remains have been identified through DNA, 41 percent of the Twin Towers 2,753 victims have still not been tied to remains found.
Last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio said that, in his opinion, the relocating of the remains was “respectful,” a move decided upon by de Blasio’s predecessor, Michael Bloomberg.
Mayor de Blasio said: “A lot of family members have agreed that this is the right approach. I’m confident this is being done respectfully after a lot of consultation with family members, and in a way that really dignifies this moment and the sacred ground we’re discussing.”
The medical examiner’s office, who released a statement about the relocation of ground zero victims’ remains, spoke about the repository: “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,” the statement said.
That statement didn’t relieve the anger of some family members though, a dozen of whom gathered at ground zero to voice their disapproval about the relocation.
Eileen Walsh, whose son, Michael Brennan, was killed on 9/11, said: “We thought there would be some sort of tomb or memorial put there.”
Rosaleen Tallon, whose brother, firefighter Sean Tallon was also killed on 9/11, said: “We were never given the opportunity to say that we did not want them in a museum.”
Despite the differences in opinion between ground zero victims‘ family members, all agree that it will be a relief and comfort when the remains come to be laid in their final place of rest.