NEW YORK - Family members who are upset that details such as their loved ones' ages will be left off the Sept. 11 memorial have created a television ad campaign in protest, and said yesterday that they could not support a private fund-raising drive for the project.
The debate over how to list the names of the 2,979 people killed on Sept. 11, 2001, and in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing is the most divisive issue surrounding the memorial.
Construction on the memorial began last spring and will not be complete until 2009.
Families created a 60-second ad that was to begin appearing today on the local channel NY1. The ad mixes images of the flyers that families posted for missing loved ones after the attacks with words calling the latest proposal "a cold, random list of names."
"A memorial in name only is no memorial at all," read the commercial, which encourages opponents to sign a petition on a new family Web site, www.savethe911memorial.com.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who took over last fall as chairman of the foundation building the memorial, said the latest arrangement of names would not change. Under that plan, victims would be grouped by where they worked or where they died. The flight numbers of the hijacked jets - but not the airlines - would be listed on the memorial as well, along with the names of police and fire companies that responded. Some family members and the head of one firefighters union have said they support the plan.
"You can't please everybody," Bloomberg said.
But many families still object, saying the listings are too minimalist and fail to show how young most victims were. They contend that the proposal establishes a hierarchy between first responders, those who died on the planes, and those who worked in trade center offices.