Almost No One Is Pleased with the 9/11 Anniversary Plans

In its effort to streamline a crucial anniversary ceremony, the city has alienated many mourners

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There may never be a universally acceptable way for New York to mark the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that took down the World Trade Center's twin towers on Sept. 11, 2001. But people wouldn't stand for it if the city did nothing. However, in planning for the event, the city and Mayor Michael Bloomberg seem to have an uncanny knack for collecting bad press and the ire of those involved. As the day draws closer, the list of those who have been offended by some aspect or another of the planning process grows longer. Bloomberg announced his plan for the city's memorial ceremony at the end of July. Before we get to the list of who's annoyed and why, let's revisit that plan, courtesy of The New York Times' City Room blog:

President Obama and his predecessor, former President George W. Bush, will attend, Mr. Bloomberg said... Former Gov. George E. Pataki of New York and former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, who were in office during the attacks, will participate, as will Mr. Bloomberg, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey.



The World Trade Center site will be accessible on Sept. 11 only to family members of those killed in the attacks; the memorial will open to the general public, by reservation, the next day. Officials have already received several hundred thousand reservations, and they expect several million more in the first year.

Many, many more people were affected than those listed above, and in recent days, they have spoken up with a host of pretty reasonable complaints as to why they weren't included. If Bloomberg wasn't on his third and last term, it would seem the list of those he has annoyed in planning this event would be long enough to vote him out of office.

The first responders: On Tuesday it emerged that the fire, police, and other emergency workers who rushed to the crumbled and burning buildings as thousands fled wouldn't be invited to the memorial service, on the grounds that the service was meant for the families of victims. That news came as the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that a background check into first responders' possible terrorist connections that was required as part of a compensation package turned up empty -- as everybody expected it would.

The survivors: In addition to those who responded to the attacks, those who survived them also won't be at the ceremony, as they had in years past, DNAinfo reported. "September 11th will again be an emotional day for victims’ family members, survivors, responders, millions of New Yorkers and people from all over the country and the world, but obvious space constraints on the Memorial plaza will limit the attendees to victims’ families," mayoral spokesman Andrew Brent told the news site.

New Jersey Governor: Offended that the guest list at the official commemoration ceremony didn't include Donald DiFrancesco, who was governor of New Jersey at the time of the attacks, current New Jersey governor Chris Christie "privately lambasted Bloomberg as "Napoleon," "a dictator" and "a putz" when DiFrancesco -- who was the Garden State governor during the attack -- wasn't asked to speak at the ceremony," the New York Post reported on Thursday. Bloomberg eventually did extend an invitation to DiFrancesco after Christie's outburst, "saying all the former governor had to do to be included was ask."

The Tribute in Light: While it's not a person who can get angry, the annual Tribute in Light, which has sent two powerful beams of light into the night sky on the anniversary of the attacks each year, is nonetheless getting short shrift this year. The New York Observer reported on Thursday that the Municipal Art Society, which operates the memorial, has run out of funding and will shine for what may be its last time this coming Sept. 11.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.