Controversy Erupts Over Owego 9/11 Memorial
A monument at the soon-to-be-completed 9/11 Memorial in the Town of Owego. [Bob Joseph/WNBF News][/caption]
Dozens of people showed up at an Owego town board meeting to protest the wording on a new 9/11 Memorial.
Construction on the memorial at Hickories Park is nearing completion. A dedication ceremony is scheduled for Sunday on the fifteenth anniversary of the attacks that left about 3,000 people dead.
Owego Town Supervisor Donald Castellucci at the 9/11 Memorial on September 7, 2016. [Bob Joseph/WNBF News][/caption]
A granite monument in the center of the memorial refers to "nineteen Islamic terrorists" who boarded four airliners on September 11, 2001.
Several people who spoke at Tuesday evening's town board meeting criticized the phrase. Some suggested it would be more appropriate if the monument referred simply to "terrorists" or perhaps "Al Qaeda terrorists."
Town supervisor Donald Castellucci told WNBF News that he "understands" the complaints some people have registered about the wording. He said he and the project contractor collaborated on the monument's message.
Castellucci said the memorial was designed to commemorate a "specific event on a specific day" referring to the 19 people who were responsible. He said the wording reflects a "historic fact."
Regarding the reference to "Islamic terrorists," Castellucci said: "We're not going to change that. It's what the history is. I think it's accurate."
Castellucci drove from Owego to New York City early Wednesday for a live interview on Fox News Channel.
Shortly after returning to Tioga County, Castellucci posted a message on the town website thanking people for their "supportive comments" concerning the wording on the monument.
The memorial features a map showing the routes of the ill-fated airliners that crashed on September 11, 2001. [Bob Joseph/WNBF News][/caption]
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