The National September 11 Memorial Museum will open its doors to the public on Wednesday, but it’s already sparking some controversy. Some of the victims’ families who have already viewed the museum are upset over the gift shop.
Others, like Joe Connor, say the uproar is “overblown.” Connor witnessed the 9/11 attacks and lost his cousin, Steve, that day.
On America’s Newsroom, Connor told Martha MacCallum the museum is “magnificent” and a tribute to every individual to who died.
“But they have bills to pay,” he said, noting that Pearl Harbor, Arlington Cemetery, the Holocaust museum and Gettysburg all have gift shops.
Connor said that when his family visits these historic places, his wife – who is a teacher – buys books to help educate her students.
“It’s not like going to Disney where they funnel you through a gift shop,” Connor said. “We were there on Saturday. I saw it out of the corner of my eye, didn’t think twice about it. They don’t force you to go through there. And from what I know, it’s tastefully done. People want to honor those who were killed by bringing something home.”
He noted that the World Trade Center was built on commerce, and it’s appropriate that that aspect is carried on.
MacCallum agreed with Connor, saying, “Every time I drive by a bumper sticker that says ‘9/11: Never Forget,’ which they bought somewhere, it reminds me. And I think it’s important to remember.”
Connor’s dad was killed in the 1975 bombing at the Frauncis Tavern in New York City. Connor said, “People may not know what Frauncis was, and that’s kind of the point because the 9/11 family members have an astounding, a beautiful tribute to their loved ones. [...] In my family, with my dad, it didn't happen that way. So I think they've done it right with this museum."
More From the 9/11 Museum Dedication Ceremony: