NEW YORK (AP) _ Relatives of Sept. 11 victims are threatening to hold their own anniversary ceremony to commemorate the attacks unless officials reverse their decision to move the event away from ground zero.
Gov. Eliot Spitzer and Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a letter recently to victims' families that the ceremony would take place at a nearby park because of the expanding rebuilding work at the trade center site.
``As America watches the memorial service on Sept. 11, 2007, we are sure that they will agree that this event should take place at the real and sacred location,'' 11 leaders of Sept. 11 family groups wrote in a letter released Saturday.
They also questioned how thousands of mourners would be able to fit into Zuccotti Park, southeast of ground zero. The park covers about three-quarters of an acre.
The letter by the relatives, sent to the mayor's and governor's offices, proposes the use of a space at ground zero smaller than that used in previous years. The spot would include a construction ramp and haul road.
The letter gives a deadline of Tuesday for city and state officials to respond. After that, the groups say they will apply for a permit to hold their own ceremony at ground zero.
``We really want to work with the mayor's office. We really don't want to do a separate ceremony, but we will if we have to,'' said Dennis McKeon, who heads Where to Turn, Put it Above Ground.
Spokesmen for the mayor and governor declined to comment Saturday.
Thousands have gathered in past ceremonies on the western edge of the site, in front of the World Financial Center, to read the names of New York City's victims in the 2001 attack.
Construction on tunnels leading from the proposed transit hub has begun in that area. A renewed search for the remains of Sept. 11 victims, which began last year on the western service road, has also extended to an area just in front of the World Financial Center.