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Pamela Geller, Breitbart: National Disgrace, 9/11 Museum to Charge $24 Admission

Read my column over at Breitbart and comment here:

“National Disgrace: 9/11 Museum to Charge $24 Admission”  5 Feb 2014

Joe Daniels, President and CEO of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, has announced a $24 mandatory admission fee for the 9/11 Memorial.

It’s a museum, not a movie. It’s a memorial, not a theme park.

What do they charge at Gettysburg? Pearl Harbor?

Salaries at the “non-profit” 9/11 Memorial and Museum are obscene. This allegedly non-profit organization is supposed to be a tribute to 9/11 victims. “It was built to tell the story of 9/11 to future generations about the worst day in American history. It was never intended to be a revenue-generating tourist attraction with a prohibitive budget and entrance fee.”

Daniels’s salary was last reported to be $371,307. He received huge raises for three years running. As far back as 2009, there were no fewer than eleven staffers at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum who each made more than $170,000. Four had salaries higher than $320,000.

What did they do with the billion dollars it took to build this underground museum morgue? There is nothing in the Memorial and Museum that addresses the ideology behind the attack. A billion-dollar memorial to the September 11th attacks on the homeland, and it censors the motive. There is nothing in the Memorial and Museum that addresses the ideology behind the attack. The museum does not properly explain to the visitors that the attacks were committed in the name of Jihad, or Islamic “holy war” against the West.

No jihad or Islam. Devastating.

The worst thing is that once you are inside the museum, you will see that the pictures of the attackers are more prominently displayed than the pictures of some of the victims.

This leads one to think: do the organizers of the museum want to pay tribute to the attackers, or what?

My organization, the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), held a press conference on September 11, 2013 to protest this outrage. (You can see details here and video and photos here.) Among the speakers was 9/11 family member Nelly Braginsky, who lost her only son Alec on 9/11. She told me recently: “The museum must be free. Families cannot afford $24. They should be able to see what happened to their country.” Travel and parking tolls are exorbitant. Who can spend that kind of money? Braginsky asked: “Why do they need 64 people to run the museum? At what salary? How many people are working? What are they doing all day? Where is the money? Five people would be enough. The salaries are enormous. Why not have students intern at the museum?”

Then there is all this talk about 9/11 being a “day of service” instead of a day of grieving. That, too, was contemptuous of our pain and loss. Why not make the museum a “service” institution, and students from across the country can volunteer their time and energy to man it? Instead, the leftist executives running the museum pays themselves enormous salaries, remove any mention of the motive behind this attack on our country, and demand that September 11 be about “service.”

Valentina Lygina, whose son Alexander was at work on the 74th floor of the second tower on the 74th floor when he was murdered by Islamic jihadists on September 11, 2001, was just as outraged as Braginsky was. And Sally Regenhard, who lost her only son, firefighter Christian, said that the $24 charge was a disgrace, “designed to maintain bloated salaries for stuffed suits and fat cats at Ground Zero.”

Regenhard’s organization, 9/11 Parents & Families of Firefighters and WTC Victims, issued a statement saying that it “strongly disagrees with charging a large admission fee, and also disagrees with expecting federal, state and local governments to pay the tab with no fiscal restraints, while 9/11 Memorial Museum executives give themselves plush raises every year, along with large expense accounts.”

Regenhard said:

The current executives at the 9/11MM have outrageous six-figure salaries, some over $400 thousand dollars per year, They have also announced a $63 million dollar bloated annual budget. This is totally out of control! A mandatory $24 dollar admission fee will just serve the purpose of helping to pay these huge salaries and ensure that the ‘tale of two cities’ will continue, as the rich will visit the museum, but the poor and middle class families won’t be able to afford it. Unfortunately, there is no fiscal responsibility or accountability at this site.

In the park, you can walk around and see only one American flag. That’s as if the architects of the park are ashamed of being American. Then the museum: if you want to properly pay tribute to the victims, you have to visit the museum as well, for the remains of unidentified victims have all been located here. So to mourn for these innocents, you have to pay!

The museum is built below the park, which isn’t very heartwarming. Why can’t such a place be built at street-level?

In Jerusalem, there is a much more honorable memorial for the victims of 9/11. Located on a terrace on a hill with a beautiful view of the surrounding area, it’s a bronze sculpture that looks like a burning American flag. Symbolism and patriotism in one. Solemn, but not cold. Why couldn’t something like that have been done at the site of the attacks themselves?

 

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