Volume 19 | Issue 33 | December 15 - 21, 2006
Mayor announces new W.T.C. name listings
By Josh Rogers
Mayor Mike Bloomberg announced on Wednesday that 9/11 victims will be listed in groups at the World Trade Center memorial, but the decision was blasted by some family members who said it did not answer enough of their concerns about how their loved ones’ names will be viewed.
Bloomberg, chairperson of the W.T.C. Foundation, said in a prepared statement: “I have spent a lot of time listening to everyone’s views on the subject and there is no ‘right’ answer. Nevertheless, it is time to move forward. I believe the solution we present today strikes the right balance and although I don’t expect everyone to be happy with it, I can assure everyone that their views were heard as we struggled with this question.”
Many family members opposed the original idea to list the names randomly. With the change, most of the W.T.C. victims from the Sept. 11, 2001 attack and the Feb. 26, 1993 Trade Center bombing would be listed near the tower footprint where they died, as many family members requested. Co-workers and flight passengers would be listed together, but uniform officers would not be listed by rank.
“His rank is why he died,” said Michael Burke, whose brother, Capt. William F. Burke, Jr., was killed in the attack. His brother was the only one in F.D.N.Y. Engine 21 to be killed. Burke said as a captain, his brother felt obligated to order his company to leave Tower 1 first, but then he came across a quadriplegic on the 27th floor, whom he was unable to save. Both men perished.
“They’re going to say, ‘we got the names together that’s what you wanted,’” Burke said in a telephone interview. “If they’re not going to list the guys by rank, there isn’t a single rescue worker who will go for it….
“I don’t see this as a democratic process or ‘have we satisfied this pressure group or that,’” Burke added. “The first responsibility is to the truth.”
Joe Daniels, the foundation’s president, told Downtown Express that “the [memorial] museum is the place that we need to tell those stories.” The underground museum will be near the memorial’s two sunken reflecting pools at the towers’ footprints. The names will be listed on street-level walls overlooking the pools. Daniels said memorial architects Michael Arad, Peter Walker and others have been working on the walls’ design and he hopes it will be released sometime in 2007.
The first responders will be listed around the South Pool, the Tower 2 site, and will be grouped together by police precinct and fire company. Port Authority police and court officers killed in the attack will be also listed there. This pool will also have the names of those killed in Tower 2, Flight 175, which crashed there, the six 1993 victims, and those who died in Washington D.C. or Pennsylvania. There will be 1,461 names listed there.
Daniels said one of the goals was to have close to a balance in the number of names around each footprint. The North Pool will have 1,518 names, which includes the people who worked in Tower 1 or were on the flight that crashed into it, Flight 11.
Employees who worked for the same company will be listed “side by side” but it appears it will be less clear why they are being listed together than the uniform officers.
“It leaves a lot to be desired for civilians,” said Charles Wolf, whose wife worked for Marsh & McClennan and was killed in the attack. “How do you group hundreds and hundreds of people [who worked at the same company] without some sort of dividing line.”
He said unless the names are set off in groups and alphabetized within the group, the change is not much better than the original random listing.
A few hours after the foundation’s executive committee vote was announced by Bloomberg, Daniels said he had heard positive feedback from a few relatives. He did not disclose what the executive committee vote was. Two family members are on the committee, Thomas Johnson and Howard Lutnick, C.E.O. of Cantor Fitzgerald. Many Cantor employees have backed having lost co-workers’ names listed together with the company name.
Bloomberg also made two other memorial announcements Wednesday. The foundation has raised an additional $70 million, bringing its private fundraising total to $202 million. The group’s goal is $300 million. The foundation also hired Catherine Blaney to be executive vice president of development.
She will manage the fundraising effort. She was the city’s chief fundraiser for the 2004 Republican National Convention, raising $84 million. She has also raised money for President Bush, Gov. Pataki,
Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California.