RED BANK - The 9/11 Memorial Museum in lower Manhattan has officially opened to the public, but the grand opening has come with more controversy.
There are reports that the museum shut its doors for a VIP party and some first responders were turned away on the last day they could tour before the venue was opened to the public.
But many involved in the museum's creation, including one 9/11 family member from New Jersey who was there Wednesday night, say nothing inappropriate happened. They believe the museum, as well as the event last night, are meant to honor and remember those lost on 9/11.
Ginny Bauer, of Red Bank, lost her husband on 9/11. She is a trustee for the 9/11 Memorial Museum and as a family member and board member, she was able to tour the site before the official public opening. She calls it spectacular and powerful.
"It's hard - not easy, but I think it did what it intended to do," Bauer says. "To tell the story, to educate future generations on what happened, and a reminder to the world that we won't ever let this happen again. "
Because she is so appreciative of how it all turned out, Bauer says she is surprised to hear there is so much controversy now surrounding the museum. She says the museum costs money to run, which is why it has a gift shop. It's something others say is inappropriate.
"You see people wear caps and hats on the same premise of never forgetting," she says. "Also - a very logistical reason - we have no federal, state or city funding."
She addressed the reports of a party inside the museum last night, which some say is insensitive to do at a memorial site. Bauer was there, and says it was not a party, but rather an appropriate dedication.
"It was not jovial. It was more a sense of gratitude to the sponsors, people who supported the museum," Bauer says.
She says the museum brings you back to Sept. 11, 2001, reminding visitors of what happened and how we all felt so we don't forget.
The museum is now open to the public and is still free to 9/11 families and first responders.