Familes of 9/11 fallen etch their love on to museum nameplates
An unexpected, touching ritual is being observed at the place in the 9/11 museum where placques mark the names of the fallen from that day.
Loved ones are etching their thoughts on to the 152 plates containing the names of the victims. It's considered "vandalism" by the authorities but the police are refusing to act. This hasn't stopped museum officials from dispatching maintenance workers to cover over the heartfelt rememberances with black paint.
“Can you imagine the conflict a cop would feel about having to bust someone for leaving a personal message to honor a dead relative who was murdered at Ground Zero?” a law-enforcement source asked.
A PA spokesman couldn’t provide exact numbers of scratchiti incidents at the site, but sources said they have encountered roughly 40 anguished messages scratched into the bronze name plates.
“It happens, but not every day,” confirmed a groundskeeper who meticulously dusts the area each day.
The heavily secured memorial site is ringed with surveillance cameras, but law-enforcement officials have declined to pursue investigations based on possible footage of the vandals in action.
Cops have also opted not to try to identify the scratchers based on the names they put their messages next to.
There have been no reports of disrespectful scratchiti on the plates or traditional graffiti tags, sources said.
The heartbreaking messages of love, grief and remembrance are typically brief but sincere, according to the sources.
People scratch the notes in quickly in order to avoid detection by security staffers.
“Love4Ever,” read one message next to the name of a 9/11 victim.
“There have been instances when scratches have been discovered on the bronze panels of the memorial,” said Michael Frazier, a spokesman for the National September 11th Memorial & Museum. “Our staff works very hard to address them immediately.
“The panels are cared for by hand and with a deep sense of responsibility and sensitivity by our dedicated staff,” he said.
Memorial-site staffers who discover the messages are required to contact PAPD authorities, who then fill out a criminal mischief report, sources said.
Maintenance workers are then dispatched to quickly reapply a coat of “black patina” to the plates to get rid of the scratchiti and restore the original shine.
Deeper cuts require more complicated rehabilitation jobs, the sources said.
I am of two minds on this. The names belong to the families, not the museum. While the memorial may be a collective expression of our grief, why can't there be room to acknowledge a family's or individual's loss?
On the other hand, if they allowed the practice to continue, the memorial would be cluttered with crude etchings that would detract from the overall effect of the display.
Solution? Set up another display next to it and allow families to write their rememberances digitally. Then make it possible for visitors to browse through the thoughts and feelings of those families who choose to share with the rest of us their grief. The family's impulse by to be part of the memorial will be satisfied while the asthetics of the display remain uncorrupted.
If they don't do something, the maintenance crew is going to be kept very busy.