Families Protest Move of Unidentified 9/11 Remains
(NEW YORK) -- Relatives of those killed at the World Trade Center on 9/11 protested Saturday after unidentified remains were returned to the site.
Some family members want the remains placed above ground so visitors won't have to pay a $24 fee to pay their respects. The vacuum-sealed plastic pouches containing bone fragments were moved from a medical examiner's officer to an underground repository in the same building as the National September 11 Memorial Museum.
More demonstrations are planned for May 15 when President Obama is scheduled to attend the museum's dedication, according to retired Deputy Fire Chief Jim Riches, who lost his son on 9/11. Relatives are also looking to have another protest the first day the site opens to the public on May 21.
"I think this is the only cemetery in the world where you have to pay to get in," Riches said. "I feel it's a national disgrace and very disrespectful. We were told that it'd be separate and distinct from any museum or visitor center."
Nearly 8,000 remains of unidentified victims are now in the underground repository after the transferring procession Saturday morning. Officials say they will be kept in a separate area not accessible to the public.
9/11 widow and museum board member Monica Iken Murphy told ABC News she disagrees with backlash from other relatives upset over the admission fee, saying that they will get in for free. Families are able to bring in guests and visit the remains at any time, Murphy said.
Demands for the remains to be kept above ground would be impractical, she added, explaining that temperature control is needed for the preservation.
"The remains at this point, because they're still being identified, can't be above ground...they have to be in a cool climate," Murphy said.
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