With tensions brewing about a proposed mosque blocks from the World Trade Center site, some families of September 11th victims are divided about whether to hold a protest against it on this weekend's anniversary of the terror attacks. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
At Resurrection Cemetery on the South Shore of Staten Island, Patricia Henrique brings yellow roses to the grave of her 27-year-old daughter Michelle, who she lost in the World Trade Center attack.
The grave is decorated with all of Michelle's favorite things -- angels, squirrels and butterflies -- which Patricia Henrique says appear whenever she is thinking about her daughter.
She visits the cemetery a couple of times a month, and she plans to be back with her family on Saturday morning to mark the ninth anniversary of Michelle's death.
"We are still a family, she's always with us," Patricia Henrique said.
The cemetery is far from the World Trade Center site, far from the controversy that seems to stew there almost every day.
Patricia Henrique says she likes it better that way, remembering the good times with her daughter, and allowing Michelle's death to inspire her to become a more generous and charitable person.
She does, however, feel compelled to talk about the Islamic center and mosque now planned two blocks from the World Trade Center site.
"If it does happen, it's going to be a reality of life. I don't think it should happen and there should be something done about it," she says.
Yet Henrique cannot bring herself to go anymore to the annual September 11th ceremony at the site, let alone to go to a protest against the mosque planned for afterwards.
Some families say even if they do not agree with building a mosque so close to the World Trade Center site, the anniversary of the attacks is not the day to protest the idea.
"That's not the time to start voicing your opinion, it's not about that," says Rose Ellen Dowdell, who lost her husband on September 11th. "It's not about that, not that day."
"It's a day of remembrance. It's not a day for any type of protest, whether it's for or against a mosque or anything else," says Lee Ielpi, who lost his son in the terror attack.
While many September 11th families do not want the mosque but disagree about protesting on the anniversary, some are wanting to make their opinion heard on Saturday.
Retired Deputy Fire Chief James Riches, who lost his firefighter son, also named James, says he is planning to attend a rally against the mosque after the ceremony.
Riches says he understands some families may not want to take part, but feels he has to participate.
"If they don't want to go to the rally and they don't want to be there, by all means, go do what they feel. Celebrate it, go home, go over to a church, go do what they want," says Riches. "But I feel that it's my duty to my son to go there and let my voice be heard and let them know that I'm not for the mosque."