Letter sent to Pope by 10 members of 9/11 Parents and Families of Firefighters and WTC Victims

Most Holy Father,

We are 9/11 Parents and Families of Firefighters and WTC Victims, who have lost our young Firefighter sons at the WTC on 9/11. We are writing to you with the ardent hope and prayer that you may help us have a voice and a choice in how and where the remains of our missing loved ones are interred at Ground Zero. We are asking for the honor of a meeting with Your Holiness while you are in NYC , to discuss our pain and grief regarding the current improper placement and storage of the unidentified human remains of our loved ones in the basement of the 9/11 museum. This has been done by 9/11 museum officials and the Office of the Mayor of NYC against the wishes of the majority of our families, many of whom are Roman Catholic. We seek that all the 1,100 families of missing victims have a voice and a choice in where the remains of their loved ones are interred at Ground Zero. If you are unable to meet with us in person, we beg the favor of meeting with your representative while you are in New York City.

The unidentified sacred remains of the missing include nearly half of the 343 Firefighters killed on 9/11. The remains of many of our sons are among these precious remnants of humanity – which are currently being stored in an ignominious and unholy location – in the basement of the private, admission-charging 9/11 museum at Ground Zero. This is no way for Catholic victims – most of whom attended Catholic schools in NYC – to be treated. Equally important, it would be a shame to set this terrible and disrespectful precedent for treatment of the dead heroes and victims of 9/11/01.

The parents and families of these unidentified victims have no voice in this matter. The politicians and bureaucrats have all the power and control and the ordinary people like us are muzzled. Politicians and bureaucrats control the message that Your Holiness will be given, and we would like you to know that the faithful have a true and Christian message that must also be heard. Holy Father, please help us. 9/11 museum officials & the City of NY have never asked for permission from the grieving families to place human remains in the basement of the 9/11 museum. They refused our requests for the families of the missing to be surveyed, and they took ownership of the remains.

For more than a decade, we have fought long, hard, bitter and expensive battles in courts for one reason only: To require those in charge at the 9/11 museum to do a proper survey of the families – to get their opinion and permission regarding where and how their loved ones will be interred for all eternity. NYC and 9/11 museum officials have adamantly refused to listen to our families and instead, have spent a fortune of taxpayer funds to fight our families in courts regarding this matter. Museum officials refuse to do the survey, because they know that the overwhelming majority of 9/11 families oppose this sacrilegious plan. We feel they are using our dead loved ones ‘remains as a tourist attraction at the 9/11 museum. There is absolutely no other reason for human remains to be stored at this location.

Our group, 9/11 Parents and Families of Firefighters and WTC Victims, has conducted our own survey of 9/11 families, and 95% of respondents do not want the human remains in this, or in any museum. Our families, be they of the Christian, Jewish, Muslim or other faiths – desire an above-ground, sacred and respectful tomb-like structure (which we were originally promised after 9/11) in which the sacred remains of heroes and victims can repose – up in the light of day in an accessible “Tomb of the Unknowns” and without the need for visitors to pay the $24.00 admission fee to respect the dead.

Upon hearing of Your Holiness’ impending visit to New York, we are overjoyed and hopeful that you will hear our grieving voices – and pray that you may become a voice for us. We appeal to meet with you or your representative, in NYC. We will travel to the Vatican if you wish us to do so. We ask you, Holy Father, to come to our assistance as the leader of the flock of the New York Archdiocese and of Catholics all over the world. (Please note that persons from over 100 countries around the world were victims of the WTC attacks. If we, as New Yorkers, have no voice, we assure you that those from other countries have none either.)

You are our hope, you are our Holy Father .You are the voice for the disenfranchised. We place our Faith and Trust in you to help the unidentified victims rest in peace for all eternity. Many of us are middle aged and senior citizens, and we do not want to leave this world without a proper resting place for our beloved children and families so that posterity can pay them the respect that they so richly deserve. Please Holy Father, help us. As Roman Catholics, we have the honor to profess ourselves with the most profound respect.

Chief Jim Riches, FDNY(ret.) 917-692-1199,

Lt. Jim McCaffrey, FDNY(ret.) 914-482-0284

Sally Regenhard, 646-266-1987

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