Hispanic Family Protests 9/11 Memorial Museum

Carlos “Rey” Lillo was a paramedic for Mount Sinai Hospital in Queens, and was last seen rescuing people in one of the towers (Photo by Humberto Arellano via El Diario).

Carlos “Rey” Lillo was a paramedic for Mount Sinai Queens, and was last seen rescuing people in one of the towers (Photo by Humberto Arellano via El Diario).

Ilia Rodríguez, the mother of paramedic Carlos “Rey” Lillo – who died on Sept. 11, 2001 and whose body was not recovered from the rubble – is one of the family members opposed to keeping any remains inside the National September 11 Memorial Museum building. The Museum was inaugurated May 15.

“I want the remains to be taken out of the museum and put somewhere where I can bring flowers and pray for him,” said the Puerto Rican woman, who was in tears.

Lillo, who was 37 at the time, had worked at Mount Sinai Queens for 17 years. He can be seen in several photographs rescuing victims.

“My brother was a brave man, and he died doing what he loved,” said sister Iliana Flores. Lillo was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, and was brought to New York at age 14.

Both relatives held pictures in which Lillo could be seen helping people covered in blood or burned. They interpret these images as a message from him.

“We recognized him in several of the published pictures from the keychain with the Puerto Rican flag that he always carried with him. I am sure that he wanted us to see it so that we could feel proud of the humanitarian work he was doing,” said Rodríguez, holding the photographs tightly as if they were a part of her son’s remains.

The victim’s family believes that he must have died when he re-entered one of the World Trade Center towers seconds before it came down. His body was never recovered.

Both women were part of the group of relatives of 9/11 firemen who stood in Zucotti Park near the museum to display a banner addressed to President Obama, who attended the museum’s inauguration ceremony.

“Please help us remove the remains of our loved ones out of the basement of the 9-11 Museum and into a dignified resting place at the 9-11 Memorial Plaza,” read the banner.

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