NEW YORK - Holding up pictures of their loved ones and signs that read, "Preserve Sacred Ground," more than 500 relatives of Sept. 11 victims rallied at the World Trade Center site Saturday against a proposed museum.
Family members say they are concerned the International Freedom Center will take attention away from those who died in the attack. They said the museum should not be allowed to show exhibits about struggles for freedom around the world.
"These are important stories to tell," said Jack Lynch, whose firefighter son, Michael Lynch, is one of the 2,749 people who died at the trade center. "Elsewhere, not at America's memorial."
The rally by more than a dozen family groups came a day before the fourth anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
A bouquet of white flowers and several single, red roses were tucked into the metal fence surrounding the site, while huge American flags hung outside nearby office buildings.
"The IFC threatens to turn ground zero into a place of endless controversy rather than a place of honor," said Anthony Gardner, whose brother, Harvey, died at the trade center.
The Freedom Center and another museum, the Drawing Center, were chosen more than a year ago to occupy cultural space at the site in a building close to the planned "Reflecting Absence" memorial.
But rebuilding officials said last month that the Drawing Center would look elsewhere for a home and that the Freedom Center would have to submit more detailed plans and respond to family objections to ensure its place at the site.
A mediator has recently been recruited to help museum officials and the families communicate.
Today, the city plans to observe moments of silence at 8:46 a.m. and 9:03 a.m. to mark the times that each hijacked jetliner struck the twin towers, and at 9:59 a.m. and 10:29 a.m., for the times each tower collapsed.