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Final Word: Gift shop at 9/11 Memorial is repugnant

The new 9/11 Memorial is set to open to the public on Wednesday.

The "private opening" has been going on since last week, and family members of those killed in the attacks have been taking advantage of a sort of soft-opening of the museum.

The president spoke there last week. Many of the remains of those who went unidentified are entombed there, making the museum part memorial, part mausoleum.

The memorial itself is getting rave reviews. The gift shop, however, has some family members upset.

Can you blame them?

The memorial is one thing, but a gift shop that sells sweatshirts, scarves and dog vests seems like a little much. I mean, I don't have a problem with people wanting to buy a 9/11 sweatshirt I guess. If you really WANT people to know that you are "not forgetting," as if anyone who was alive that day ever COULD forget.

But earrings molded from the leaves of the so-called Survivor Tree, a pear tree that inexplicably survived the fall of the twin towers while all around it the plaza landscape was devastated?

A leaf ornament that is said to change from amber to dark brown and sometimes pink around the 9/11 anniversary. Really?

Pandora bracelets with cop and firefighter charms? Stuffed Labrador retrievers wearing search-and-rescue vests?

All of these things are very nice, but to put them in the store you get corralled through on the way out of the museum feels a little tacky. You have to pay $24 to get into the museum in the first place, so the money grab at the end is unnecessary.

But the museum has a $63 million operating budget. I guess they have to pay the bills somehow.

I don't even really like the gift shops at the end of the art museum tour. Buying the Monet print feels cheap after you've seen the real thing.

But this gift shop really takes that to a new level. One of the parents of the dead said to sell trinkets over the grave of her son is shocking and repugnant.

I have to agree.

About the Author

Karie Dozer is host of Arizona's Noon News.

She has been an on-air personality nearly continually since her college days. She loves radio because it is intelligent, immediate and almost always available.

She is the youngest of nine children from a Midwestern Catholic family where she learned to be heard, fight for a place at the table and find humor in almost everything. She was hired as a news intern while a senior at ASU's Cronkite School, and found that covering human stories like the OJ Simpson white Bronco chase and the 1992-93 Phoenix Suns was too much fun to pass up.

She loved life in the newsroom with all the action and crazy personalities to go with it. She anchored and covered some sports too, until politics dragged her away. She served as press secretary for Arizona's Attorney General Grant Woods for a five-year stint before jumping back to radio on a part-time basis. Three years ago she got back in the biz on a more regular basis as a midday host on what is now KTAR News. She has a passion for the breaking news of the moment, education, local politics, great food, sports and fitness. She has trouble turning down a good argument, a good book or a good glass of wine.

In her spare time she takes care of her boys, (husband Rich, son Jack, and yellow lab Buddy,) and bakes awesome chocolate chip cookies. She enjoys the quality of life the Valley offers her family and the natural beauty of Arizona. Her favorite places are golf courses, her own kitchen, the city of Flagstaff, and wherever her family is.

She considers herself lucky to work with the amazingly talented people of KTAR radio.


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