Memorial sculpture contains too many names
BAYONNE, N.J. (AP) -- A 100-foot-tall sculpture being unveiled on Monday's fifth anniversary of 9/11 honors thousands of terrorist attack victims, and then some: Carved into the granite base are the names of more than 40 people who weren't killed on Sept. 11 after all.
The majestic sculpture across the Hudson River from ground zero will feature 3,024 names of people once believed to have died in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the twin towers, the Pentagon and on United Flight 93 in Pennsylvania.
The problem is that the Russian artist who created the work used an outdated list of names of those missing at the trade center.
"We did the best that could have been done under the circumstances," said Emily Madoff, an attorney for artist Zurab Tsereteli.
Madoff said that she consulted several sources to try to determine the correct names before seeking confirmation from Kenneth Feinberg, the former special master of a federal Sept. 11 victim compensation fund, who referred her to a book published by The New York Times in 2003.
She said she never knew to contact the city, which has kept the official death toll for New York since the attacks.
Source for names
She said she drew her list from the book, which identifies victims as of spring 2003. It includes 43 names that were removed by the medical examiner's office in October 2003 and January 2004 because the city couldn't confirm their deaths or, in some cases, their existence, according to Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner.
The names removed included illegal immigrants whose jobs were not well-documented and missing people whose relatives say they were near the trade center Sept. 11. Some claims were made up in attempts to rip off the government.
One name, Paul Herman Vanvelzer, was apparently a fabrication by a California woman who contended she was a Sept. 11 victim's mother.
Some victims' family members said the erroneous names need to be removed.
"It kind of cheapens the whole thing," said Jack Lynch, whose firefighter son, Michael Lynch, was killed Sept 11.
The memorial, called "To the Struggle Against World Terrorism," is not the only Sept. 11 tribute to run into such problems. In Jersey City, a memorial dedicated in 2002 to 40 victims was redone for $7,500.
The sculpture evokes the twin towers that once stood across the Hudson River. In the middle, a 40-foot steel teardrop hangs like a bell in the open center.
Its groundbreaking last September drew Russian President Vladimir Putin, and its dedication on Monday is expected to bring former President Clinton, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Gov. Jon S. Corzine.
The number of victims from the Sept. 11 attacks stands at 2,973: 2,749 at the trade center, 184 at the Pentagon and 40 in Pennsylvania.
The planners of a memorial to open in 2009 at ground zero intend to list all those names, as well as the six people who died in the 1993 trade center bombing.
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