Twenty-two years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the families who lost loved ones at the World Trade Center are still
seeking to hold on to them one last time. For these families, who have yet to receive any remains of their loved ones, the
closest they can get is this special space within the National September 11 Memorial & Museum known as the "Blue
In 2014 the remains of unidentified victims from the 2001 terror attack were moved to a new resting place. At that point
the roughly 8,000 remains victims from the attacks had been in the custody of the Office of Chief Medical Examiner (OCME)
for all that time.
The remains are now kept behind that Blue Wall in an area off-limits to the public. The museum's website says the wall,
which visitors are able to view within the museum, is inscribed with the following from the Roman poet Virgil: "No day
shall erase you from the memory of time". Only medical examiners and families of victims are given access to the repository
behind the wall.
Therein lies the remains of the unidentified victims (bone fragments, personal items, etc all small and some not in good
condition), along with a room that only victims' families can access to pay their respects. It includes a window that looks
on the rows of the cabinets that contain these remains.
While the museum's repository serves as a somber memorial ground for those families that have no physical proof that their
loved ones perished on 9/11, the forensic team at OCME has been doing DNA testing of samples of those remains to try to make
positive identifications in their lab in Manhattan. And even though the team said the task has been a daunting one for 21
years due to the sheer scope of work, they are still determined to give these families closure.
Each year only a few individuals are identified from the remains. As of Sept. 1, 2022 only 1,647, roughly 60%, of the
total number of victims, have been identified, according to OCME. The last two recent identifications were made in 2022. There
are 1,106 victims who still remain unidentified.
In the ABC TV news article from Sept 9, 2021
"Forensic Teams Look Back At 20-Year Mission To Identify World Trade Center Remains"
you can read all about the painstaking process the OCME had taken on https://abcnews.go.com/US/forensic-teams-back-20-year-mission-identify-world/story?id=79899068