The National September 11 Memorial & Museum officially opens to the public in New York today. But some family members of victims and survivors are upset with what’s being sold at the museum’s gift shop.

They include souvenirs like t-shirts, stuffed dogs, police and firefighter charms by Pandora, and scarfs with an imprint of the World Trade Center before the Sept. 11, 2001, attack.

“It’s a disgrace. The selling of trinkets is a disgrace,” said Ted Stankewicz, a retired firefighter from Ladder 119. “This is a place to honor people. Civilians passed away. Civil servants passed away. This is kind of sacred ground. This is not a money-maker. Shame on them.”

Museum officials argued that there are many memorials with gift shops. They pointed to Pearl Harbor, Oklahoma City and the Holocaust museum. They also say as a private non-profit organization, the memorial relies on fundraising, donations, and revenue from ticket sales.

“For me, it’s like a reminder to remember the museum and everyone that was involved in it from the victims, to the families the people,” said John Patterson, who worked on the museum and bought a cup from the gift shop.

What do you think of having a gift shop at this memorial, and the items being sold? Is it disrespectful to the victims, or is it truly necessary to keep the memorial open? Share your comments below, and watch for them on WBZ News in the Morning from 4:30 to 7:00 a.m.


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