NEW YORK (PIX11) — Over the last twelve and a half years, relatives of September 11th victims and survivors have forced the city and the country to confront a myriad of complicated issues relating to the Lower Manhattan memorial site.
Graffiti physically etched on to the bronze plates featuring every victim’s name presents yet another situation that is anything but cut and dry.
It’s a point not lost on Brooklyn resident Bernard Marrazzo, who was at the World Trade Center the day of the attacks.
“It’s very difficult if it’s a loved one that does that to blame that. But obviously, it’s a memorial. So it’s kind of like, I really don’t know how to answer, because what do you do legally? I mean, this person lost a loved one, and wants to show their affection and continued love for that person that passed away. But technically they’re still breaking the law.”
Memorial spokesman Michael Frazier tells PIX11 staff members have indeed discovered scratches on the bronze panels.
The messages are personal and heartfelt, left by loved ones.
But Frazier goes on to say, “Our staff works very hard to address them immediately. The panels are cared for by hand and with a deep sense of responsibility and sensitivity by our dedicated staff.”
The Port Authority is reportedly also aware of the graffiti, but because of the context in which it was left, is also reportedly in no rush to take advantage of the surveillance video here and try to prosecute a mourning vandal.
But Joe Donohue, who was also here that day, says violators despite their good intentions, should know better.
“It shouldn’t be marked up by anybody. I can understand people can have feelings about it. But people shouldn’t be etching any graffiti on it. I think people should leave it as is. It’s built in testimony to the deceased,” said Donohue.
Like we said in the beginning of this story, there are no easy answers.
John Feal, who lost half of his foot while removing debris from the World Trade Center Site, says one solution involves bringing in the federal government to run the memorial.
“If the federal government stepped in, or the parks department took over, a lot of these issues would be resolved. Again you’re never gonna make everyone happy because these are such sensitive topics. If there were federal oversight, there would be no graffiti,” said Feal.