Engraved names at the Ground Zero memorial site. Photo: Getty Images
New York: The families of those killed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks have expressed dismay at tacky souvenirs on sale at the newly opened Ground Zero memorial museum.
A gift shop and cafe at the museum, which opened last week, are located metres from what has been designed as the final resting place for more than 8000 unidentified body parts recovered from the scene of the worst terrorist attack in US history.
The dedication ceremony for the museum last week. Photo: AFP
The National September 11 Memorial and Museum opens to the public on Wednesday following a dedication ceremony last week attended by US President Barack Obama.
Family members of the nearly 3000 killed have been given free tours in recent days, along with those living close to the site. The Ground Zero museum was already controversial among some of the bereaved families. Many said they felt uncomfortable having tourists visiting an exhibition situated so close to the vault containing the remains of their loved ones.
Now they have had the opportunity to view the museum, some are even more unhappy at what they say is a tawdry gift shop and inappropriate cafeteria.
Among the souvenirs on sale are badges featuring some of the Fire Service dogs that died when the towers collapsed, earrings moulded from the leaves of a tree that survived the inferno, cases for mobile telephones, mouse mats and even a Fire Department of New York dog jacket.
Visitors can also buy magnets, key chains, stuffed animals and mugs.
Hooded sweatshirts with an image of the Twin Towers described as the "Darkness Hoodie" are on sale along with silk scarves featuring a panoramic view of the Manhattan skyline before the towers' collapse.
Diane Horning, who lost her son Matthew, 26, in the attacks and has never recovered his remains, said: "To me, it's the crassest, most insensitive thing to have a commercial enterprise at the place where my son died.
"Here is essentially our tomb of the unknown," she said. "To sell baubles I find quite shocking and repugnant.
"I think it's a moneymaking venture ... and they're willing to do it over my son's dead body."