Ten years ago this September we witnessed a tragedy of immeasurable magnitude. A few days ago a proposal made by Joe Daniels the President and CEO of the National September 11 Museum and Memorial to charge $20-$25 entry fee reopened the collective scab in our hearts. The reason Mr. Daniels provided for the proposed charge is that the museum part needs to generate income to operate. The projected operating costs are between $50-$60 million dollars a year. The memorial part of the site will be free to the public.
I am outraged by the entry fee proposal. The USS Arizona Memorial and Museum at the site of another infamous day in American history; is free. The Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo has no admission fees. To see the Liberty Bell is free. The Getty Center is free. The Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum has a charge of only $10. All of the institutions receive significant private and corporate donations. The National September 11 Museum and Memorial will be the benefactor of more than its share of philanthropic largesse.
The significance of a place where we can come together, celebrate our heroes, and relate to our children and our children’s children our feelings and experiences of that day. The National September 11 Museum and Memorial will become a place of emotional catharsis like the Vietnam Memorial and Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum has become.
$20-$25 dollars admission will prevent many people from going to the museum. With the cost of living rising faster than our paychecks, the financial ability to pay the proposed admission fee would be slight, indeed. Mr. Daniels there has to be a better way than passing the fees to the persons the museum is being built for-our children.