9/11 Memorial & Museum Fee Sparks Outrage

Anyone visiting the National 9/11 Memorial & Museum must now pay a $2 service fee, a move that has sparked massive outrage among the families of the tragedy’s victims.

The fee was implemented last month. There’s no charge for admission to the memorial on the World Trade Center site or for same-day passes given out on a first-come, first-served basis. But those wishing to reserve passes online or by phone to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum have to pay up, a move which critics say violates the purpose of the memorial.

“They’re making money off the people that died. It’s disgusting,” said Jim Riches, a retired FDNY deputy chief who lost his son in the September attack.

Memorial President Joe Daniels issued a statement Sunday, saying that the fee is only temporary and implemented to help support operation costs. He said, “Like other similar institutions, in order to help support the operational needs of the 9/11 Memorial we have implemented a service fee, solely for advance reservations.”

Additionally, the Memorial’s website says that the service fee is a temporary measure until certain construction projects are finished. The 9/11 Memorial & Museum was paid for by tax grants and private donations, totaling roughly $700 million.

The Memorial foundation says that, after the project is completed, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum will cost roughly $60 million to operate each year. The museum itself is still under construction after a funding disagreement broke out between the foundation and the Port Authority. This temporary stall has reportedly affected the project’s financial planning.

The memorial, which opened in 2011, boasts two reflecting pools with waterfalls that represent the foundations of the towers. It has attracted nearly seven million visitors. The museum exhibit will host portraits of the 3,000+ victims of 9/11 as well as artifacts like a WTC staircase that workers used to escape the buildings.

What do you think of the 9/11 Memorial & Museum fee? Is $2 a modest charge to continue development of the project, or is the fee indecent to the families of 9/11 victims? Sound off!

[Image via: russavia, Wikimedia Commons]