9/11 kin launch ad to protest memorial


By AMY WESTFELDT, Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK - Family members who are upset that details such as their loved ones' ages will be left off the Sept. 11 memorial launched a television ad campaign Wednesday in protest and said they would not support private fundraising for the project.

The debate over how to list the names of the 2,979 people killed on Sept. 11 and in the 1993 trade center bombing is the latest and most divisive issue surrounding the memorial. Other disputes have centered on its cost, a design that once had the names of the dead listed underground and whether to build at the base of the towers where many victims' remains were found.

Construction on the memorial only began last spring. It is scheduled to open in 2009, while a museum is planned to open a year later.

Family members created a 60-second television advertisement that was to begin airing Thursday on the NY1 cable channel. They said more ads may be launched later in other markets.

The ad mixes images of the flyers that families posted for missing loved ones after the attacks with words calling the latest proposal "a cold, random list of names."

"A memorial in name only is no memorial at all," read the commercial, which encourages opponents to sign a petition on a new Web site.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who took over as chairman of the foundation building the memorial last fall, said Wednesday that the latest plan to arrange the names will not change.

"You can't please everybody," Bloomberg said. "I think the naming issue is something that has been decided."

Family members and police and fire unions had long opposed architect Michael Arad's proposal to list the names of the dead in random order on parapets around two reflecting pools marking where the twin towers stood.

They issued a counterproposal in 2004, asking that the victims' ages, companies and, if applicable, tower floor be listed. First responders and crew members on the four hijacked jetliners that crashed on Sept. 11 would have been listed together, with their ranks.

Last month, Bloomberg announced a new arrangement that groups people according to where they worked or where they died. Flight numbers would be listed on the memorial as well, along with the names of police and fire companies that responded. Some family members and the head of one firefighters' union have said they support the plan.

Families opposing the arrangement say the listings fail to show how young most of the victims were, while giving first responders and those who died on the planes higher status than those who worked in trade center offices.

"We can't have two sets of victims," said Patricia Reilly, whose sister, Lorraine Lee, was killed in the trade center's south tower.

Tom Roger, a foundation board member whose daughter was a flight attendant on the plane that hit the trade center's north tower, said that by listing so many company names, "to some, it would look like a corporate directory.

"It becomes a memorial to the company. These are not companies that died, these were people," Roger said.

Edie Lutnick, whose brother was one of 658 employees of the Cantor Fitzgerald bond brokerage killed on Sept. 11, said the families would pay for the ads instead of donating to the memorial until the name listing changes. "We don't want them stripped of their affiliations. Unacceptable," she said.

Debra Burlingame, a foundation board member whose brother was the pilot of the hijacked plane to hit the
Pentagon, said Wednesday she would not tell people not to donate to the memorial, but said she was "very uncomfortable asking the public for money without them knowing exactly what this is."

The memorial was redesigned — and its near-$1 billion budget cut — last summer after city and state officials said it was too expensive. Many family members had objected to the underground part of the memorial, saying it was unsafe and disrespected the dead, and tried to block development on the bedrock slabs at the towers' base. The latest design brought the listing of names to a tree-covered plaza above ground.