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Families Split Over How To Honor 9/11 Victims' Remains

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) --Unidentified remains of more than 1,000 9/11 victims are stored on the East Side.

As soon as next year, they'll be moved to ground zero.

But the plan to place them underground has opened a rift between victims' families.

Jim Riches, the father of a 9/11 victim told CBS 2's Tony Aiello, "Their argument is we were consulted. We were never consulted. I was never talked to about remains."

A group of mostly parents of slain firefighters said the plan for a repository inside the memorial museum - seven stories down at bedrock - is disrespectful.

Rosemary Cain, a victim's mother said, "For the families to visit with the loved ones, they have to go through the same entrance as thousands of visitors, they have to rub shoulders with strangers from all over the world going down these seven stories."

The group is so angry, they've filed legal papers to force the city to survey all the 9/11 families.

Sally Regenhard, a mother of a 9/11 victim, said, "Ask them if they agree with this nefarious plan that's been imposed upon them."

Regenhard and her group want the memorial plaza redesigned - to include a "tomb of the unknowns." Other victims' families said the underground repository plan is not only a good plan - it's a plan they insisted on from the very beginning. Charles Wolf, a supporter of the repository, lost his wife Katherine in the North Tower.

He was on the family committee that, in 2003, told memorial planners to "secure a repository in the area enclosed by slurry walls to bury all unidentified remains of our loved ones."

He said Sally Regenhard was on that committee, too. Wolf said, "Other than people who are her friends... I haven't heard of anyone else that is complaining about what is supposed to happen."

Both sides are united in grief, but divided by the details of how to honor the dead.

What do you make of this controversy?  Share your thoughts in the comments section below...

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