9/11 Memorial Museum draws criticism - 7News Boston WHDH-TV

9/11 Memorial Museum draws criticism

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NEW YORK (WHDH) - Jim Riches lost his son Jimmy, a firefighter, on 9/11, but he won't set foot inside the museum meant to honor the victims.

"It's disgusting. Totally horrible. They were dancing on our son's grave. I'm very insulted and I think they crossed the line," Riches said.

The latest splashy headlines documented a VIP cocktail party at the museum the same week it opened, another affront to some who were already fuming over the museum's gift shop, plans to open a restaurant, and the $24 admission fee.

"I think it's now become a money machine, a revenue-generating tourist attraction," Riches said.

The museum defended the party, which they called a donor reception.

In a statement, the memorial's president, Joe Daniels said, "It is absolutely appropriate to thank donors who gave hundreds of millions of dollars and others, including family members, who worked so hard to make the museum a reality."

Part of that reality is generating revenue. Museum organizers said it cost $65 million a year to run, but some families insisted their loss shouldn't be part of a gain, for any reason.

"To have a cocktail party over the graves of 8,000 human remains of NYC's heroes and victims is truly a sacrilege," said Sally Regenhard, who lost her son on 9/11.

The unidentified human remains are housed in the underground museum, behind a wall. Some family members felt the location wasn't fit for a final resting place, and vowed to fight to have their loved ones moved above ground, as part of the memorial that is free to the public.

"We wanted to honor and memorialize our loved ones. and to tell the story of that day. What happened, I think they lost track of what they were going to do," said Riches.

A museum spokesperson reportedly said the memorial doesn't receive federal or state funds, so the gift show was essential to keep the museum going.
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