July 25, 2012
Petition for monument to honor those killed by Ground Zero toxins
A Downtown resident has started an online petition urging authorities to build a free-standing monument on the National September 11 Memorial and Museum Plaza to honor first responders and cleanup workers who have died from inhaling toxins at Ground Zero.
Allan Tannenbaum, 67, a Community Board 1 member and photojournalist from Tribeca, created the petition in late May after years of advocacy for those affected by 9/11-related toxins. His photo story “Still Killing,” published in TIME Magazine in 2006, documented cases of emergency and clean-up workers who were suffering from cancers and other incurable diseases years after the terrorist attacks, and who Tannenbaum said are often overshadowed by those who died on 9/11.
The 9/11 Memorial has plans to include an exhibit on those who’ve died from toxins once it opens to the public.
Tannenbaum — who was a member of C.B. 1’s now-defunct World Trade Center Redevelopment Committee — said that when, during a committee meeting, he once asked 9/11 Memorial President Joe Daniels why the exhibit couldn’t be turned into its own monument on the Plaza, Daniels told him that it was because some Ground Zero workers have died from causes unrelated to toxins.
“But an exhibit just isn’t enough because of the awful illnesses and deaths that these people and their families have gone through,” said Tannenbaum. “I don’t think that we should kill the whole idea just because there might be a handful of names on that wall who didn’t die from 9/11 toxins.”
The petition, which had gained more than 230 online signatures by press time, can be found at www.change.org.