Saturday, September 3, 2011

The 9/11 Memorial Inclusion Campaign

The United States was attacked by Islamic militants on September 11, 2001. That attack included the destruction of the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan, New York City, where 2.792 individuals lost their lives.
Two days after the attack, construction workers found a steel girder joint approximately 10 feet across and 20 feet high and weighing 10 tons amongst the rubble. By October 2001, the Franciscan (Catholic) friar Brian Jordan came and ‘blessed’ this piece of building debris and began holding religious services at the site.
Eventually, the girder cross was removed to St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church on 22 Barclay Street, in Manhattan.  While there, the girder set was further modified and trimmed to look more like the Latin cross of Christian tradition.
In 2002, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation was established, with a $10 billion grant from the US government, to rebuild downtown Manhattan.  Soon thereafter, the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation (WTCMF) was established to begin designing a permanent memorial for those that died in the 9/11 attacks.
At about that same time, various groups began lobbying the WTCMF to include the girder cross in the final design of the 9/11 Memorial & Museum.  American Atheists spoke out against that suggestion, making numerous appearances to civic and governmental groups as well as on national media denouncing the suggestion as a blatant violation of the First Amendment and exclusionary to non-Christian Americans.  It also offered to provide its own memorial artifact to be set next to the girder cross to honor all other Americans who died in the 9/11 attacks.  American Atheists never received any response to its complaints or its offer of an additional memorial artifact.
The WTCMF completed the construction of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in July.  On July 23, the WTCMF arranged to have the girder cross brought back from St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church and dropped in through the roof of the museum to be placed on a mounting that the WTCMF had built specifically for that purpose. The girder cross was then immediately consecrated in a private religious ceremony by Brian Jordan, the same Franciscan friar who originally claimed the girder cross to be a religious icon soon after it had been discovered.  No other religious or secular representatives were invited to the event.
American Atheists is calling on all Americans who care about church-state separation and equal representation for all to participate in a campaign to call for the WTCMF and our elected leaders to rectify this situation and have our national memorial represent all of the 9/11 victims and their families, not just the Christian ones.

We are asking all of our supporters to participate in a coordinated action the week prior to September 11.  Every day, from Monday, September 5 through Saturday, September 10, we are asking you to contact one of the targets of our campaign each day to bring attention to this injustice and to insist that it be corrected.
We've set up two petition websites for our campaign. Each of them allow petition signers to send emails to our campaign targets.  You can choose the petition website that best represents your view on the matter:

Here’s the schedule of actions we’re asking you to take:
Monday, September 5: Send emails to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum committee through one of the above petition websites.

Tuesday, September 6: Send LTEs (Letters to the Editor) to your local newspaper or other media source. (Because we don’t have a database of all of the local media contacts across the country, we’re asking you to research this ahead of time so that you’ll have that information in time for this action.) Feel free to use, in part, in whole, or as a mix, any of the sample letters to the editor on this website for your message.
Wednesday, September 7: Make phone calls and/or send emails and letters to New York and US legislators and executives, through one of the two petition websites above.
Thursday, September 8: Repeat the emails to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum committee.
Friday, September 9: Repeat the emails to the local newspaper or other media.

Saturday, September 10: Repeat the phone calls, emails, and letters to the New York and US legislators and executives.
Tell your friends about this campaign and encourage them to sign up to participate!  Let’s finally put a stop to the religious injustice and bigotry against atheists that has come to dominate so much of US politics!


  1. How can you both ask and demand? I would suggest picking one or the other...

  2. very nice post. the 911 cross memorials are just amazing. i have done a lot of research on it there are more then one cross found. the post was really nice. thanks