NEW YORK - Standing in the footprints of the fallen twin towers, President Barack Obama on Thursday dedicated the new Sept 11 memorial museum, calling it a ‘sacred place of healing and hope’ to recover from the nation’s worst terrorist attack.
Speaking at the dedication of the new Sept. 11 museum, Obama told the relatives of those who died that day that “those we lost live on within us.”
“We come together,” Obama said. “We stand at the footprint of two mighty towers. We can look at their names, hear their voices.” Obama spoke after he and First Lady Michelle Obama took toured the new National September 11 Memorial & Museum. They viewed the memorial wall with the photos of the nearly 3,000 victims. They viewed a mangled fire truck and videos of the towers crumbling to dust.
They viewed the twisted steel beams, the teddy bears and family photos that were found in the wreckage.
This, Obama said afterward, is a “sacred place of healing and hope.” Obama gave his brief remarks while standing beside a column recovered from the site covered with tributes to fallen emergency responders.
He was joined by First Lady Michelle Obama, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and former Mayors Michael Bloomberg and Rudy Giuliani.
“We will never understand why one person escaped and another didn’t...how random it all seemed,” said Giuliani, who served as mayor during the time of the attacks. The museum, he said, affirms “that we can absolutely affect each other’s lives by what we do at a time of crisis.”
The museum was intended to open on the anniversary of the attacks, but construction delays and rising costs slowed progress. The museum stands next to the one World Trade Center, standing at 1,776 feet, making it the tallest in the nation. The office building is expected to open later this year.
Monitoring Desk adds: “It’s an honour to join in your memories, to recall and to reflect, but above all to reaffirm the true spirit of 9/11 - love, compassion, sacrifice - and to enshrine it forever in the heart of our nation,” Obama told an audience of victims’ relatives, survivors, rescuers and recovery workers, reported Fox News.
Obama said no act of terror can match the strength and character of the United States. “Like the great wall and bedrock that embrace us today, nothing can ever break us. Nothing can change who we are as Americans.”
After viewing some of the exhibits the president touched on some of the many stories of courage amid the chaos: the passengers who stormed a hijacked plane’s cockpit over a Pennsylvania field and first responders who rushed into the burning twin towers. He also honored military members “who have served with honor in more than a decade of war.”
He focused especially on the story of Welles Crowther, a 24-year-old World Trade Center worker and former volunteer firefighter who became known as “the man in the red bandanna” after he led other workers to safety from the trade center’s stricken south tower. He died in the tower’s collapse. One of the red bandannas he made a habit of carrying is in the museum, and Crowther’s mother, Alison, told the audience she hoped it would remind visitors “how people helped each other that day, and that they will be inspired to do the same in ways both big and small. This is the true legacy of Sept. 11.”
By her side was Ling Young, one of the people Welles Crowther rescued.
“It was very hard for me to come here today,” but she wanted to thank his parents, she said. Before the ceremony, Obama walked quietly through an expansive hall with former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton following behind him.
By turns chilling and heartbreaking, the ground zero museum leads people on an unsettling journey through the terrorist attacks, with forays into their lead up and legacy. There are scenes of horror, including videos of the skyscrapers collapsing and people falling from them. But there also are symbols of heroism, ranging from damaged fire trucks to the wristwatch of one of the airline passengers who confronted the hijackers.
The museum and memorial plaza above, which opened in 2011, were built for $700 million in donations and tax dollars.