Rise of Freedom: Mom of 9/11 Firefighter Fights to Keep Victims' Memories Alive

Rosemary Cain volunteers at a visitor center across the street from the World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan. Cain, the mother of a firefighter who died in the Sept.11 attacks, has a great view of the progress workers are making on the memorial across the street.

She doesn't like what she sees.

"So many things in the past ten years have not been done right," she said recently in Battery Park, a half-mile south of the World Trade Center site.

"Prime example: The Sphere."

Cain motioned to the sculpture that, for three decades, was the centerpiece of the World Trade Center Plaza. Designed as a tribute to peace, "The Sphere" came to symbolize much more after the attacks, when crews found it banged up but mostly intact amid the smoldering debris of the skyscrapers that collapsed around it.

Six months later, "The Sphere" ended up in Battery Park. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg dedicated it on March 11, 2002 -- the same day workers first switched on the now-annual "Tribute in Light" display, shining beams of light into the sky to fill the void where the towers once stood.

Officials made it clear that both memorials would only be temporary. Planners were still in the early stages of discussing possibilities for a permanent memorial at the site of the attacks.
Almost a decade later, "The Sphere" has to go.

"The city is looking to relocate "The Sphere" by this summer," Parks Department spokeswoman Vickie Karp wrote in a statement. She explains that's when construction crews will begin restoration work on the park's lawn.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the sculpture, reports it hasn't made a final decision on what it will do with the artwork, but several 9/11 victims' family members worry it could end up in storage.

"It belongs down at the World Trade Center. That's where it belongs," insisted Cain. "There's no question. There's no doubt."

She's one of more than 3,000 people who signed an online petition demanding the return of "The Sphere" to the 9/11 Memorial, which is scheduled to open this year on the 10th anniversary of the attacks.

Addressed to Mayor Bloomberg, the petition boldly proclaims, "America has no more vital historical artifact than the WTC Sphere."

But when a reporter asked him about it recently, Bloomberg didn't seem convinced, answering, "There's a number of different people that have different interests," including, he said, "the interest of the design and traffic flow" of the memorial.

The uncertainty over "The Sphere" is just one of many issues upsetting Cain.

She's unhappy with how the victims' names will be displayed. She finds it "insulting" that most of the 9/11 Museum will be underground. She's "outraged" over the museum's plans to place unidentified remains behind a subterranean wall. Cain complains about attempts to "sanitize" the attacks but contends the museum shouldn't include any information about the attackers.

"Sometimes people refer to the families as the whiny families and I can understand that in a way because there's always one issue after another," Cain acknowledged. "But what kind of families would we be, what kind of a mother would I be, if I didn't fight for my son?"

Tune into Fox Report with Shepard Smith Thursday, April 14, at 7 p.m. ET for the latest segment in the Rise of Freedom Series. You can catch up on all the segments by visiting www.FoxNews.com/freedom.