News / USA

    Obama Dedicates New York Museum to Remember 2001 Terrorist Attacks

    A New York City firefighter looks at the last column recovered at the World Trade Center site at the dedication ceremony for the National 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York, May 15, 2014.
    A New York City firefighter looks at the last column recovered at the World Trade Center site at the dedication ceremony for the National 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York, May 15, 2014.
    Adam Phillips
    Ground Zero, the site of the former World Trade Center in New York City, was a place of grief and closure, celebration and solemnity on Thursday. On hand to dedicate the long-awaited National September 11 Memorial Museum was President Barack Obama and other dignitaries who joined survivors, emergency responders and recovery workers, as well as the loved ones of those killed in the attacks in 2001.

    An atmosphere of shared mourning and civic pride filled the cavernous auditorium below ground as the Young People’s Chorus of New York City sang the national anthem at the start of the hour-long ceremony.

    Next, former New York City mayor and museum chairman Michael Bloomberg set forth the context for the estimated 700 onlookers and participants at the event.

    “This museum, built on the site of rubble and ruins, is not filled with the faces, the stories and the memories of our common grief and our common hope,” he said. “It’s a witness to tragedy. It is an affirmation of human life.”

    Memorial museum tells stories both grand, intimate

    President Obama spoke of the memorial museum and how its many mementos and artifacts, photographs and oral history tributes, and chunks of wreckage and rubble, are a way to tell the human stories of 9/11 and its aftermath to future generations.    

    “[It tells the stories] … of coworkers, who led others to safety, of passengers who stormed the cockpit, our men and women in uniform who rushed into an inferno, our first responders who charged up those stairs, a generation of service members … who served with honor in more than a decade of war.”  
     
    Intimate personal objects bring the tragedy home in a wrenching way. A twisted watch whose hands stopped at the moment the plane hit the building; a tarnished Saint Christopher’s medal; a teddy bear.  

    Florence Jones donated the shoes she was wearing that day. She had walked down to safety from the World Trade Center’s 75th floor, then another 50 blocks to a friend’s office. When she heard that the museum was looking for mementos of that day, she remembered her ruined shoes, which she had kept in a plastic container ever since.       

    “And when I took them out they still had the smell on them from that awful day. And I knew I would never wear them again. So I decided to donate them here,” she recalled. “I wanted my nieces and my nephew and every person that asked what happened to see them and maybe understand a little bit better what it felt like to be ‘us’ on that day.”   

    Hard history, “Amazing Grace,” shafts of light

    These and other bittersweet speeches and testimonials - from the mother whose son died carrying people to safety, from a firefighter who was trapped in a stairway with his colleagues but survived, to government leaders who did their best to get a handle on the catastrophe as it occurred and tried to help - made for an emotionally challenging ceremony.   

    Many seemed both touched and relieved when Tony Award-winning actress LaChanze - whose husband died in the attack - came to the podium and sang Amazing Grace.

    Near the end of the ceremony, Bloomberg seemed to speak for many attendees and the millions of visitors who are expected to visit the museum when he said, “There are hard history lessons to be learned, but also shafts of light that can illuminate the days ahead.” The museum opens to the public May 21.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: MAURICIO SAAVEDRA from: MIAMI
    May 16, 2014 12:28 AM
    Please understand that for as long as we put thought over things that are negative and not constructive we are not moving forward…
    We are destroying this world with all kinds of things this country and other countries build to cause mass destructions all over – Some people wonder about hundreds of birds and hundreds of fish dead and the US government is behind a number of things that take place in regards to these things and to be more specific the private parties that really lead the miss-doing. UNDERSTAND THIS IS OUR WORLD AND WE SHOULD CARE AND PRESERVE IT – EVERYTHING WE ALL DO HAS A GOOD OR BAD – IT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY AS HUMANS LIVING IN THIS PLANET TO CARE FOR WHAT HAS BEEN GIVEN TO US FOR FREE BY HIGHER POWER THAT BEFORE ANYTHING HOLDS THE TRUTH AND GOOD FOR ALL THINGS… WE AS PEOPLE (HOW WE ALL STAND RIGHT NOW) OWN ABSOLUTELY NOTHING AND WHEN WE GO WE TAKE NOTHING – UNDERSTAND THE MASSAGES GIVEN TO US PAYING ATTENTION TO NATURE AND THE MOST SIMPLE THINGS IN LIFE… THE ANSWER IS ALL OVER THE PLACE ALL OVER OUR PLANET – OPEN YOUR HEART AND EYES FOR EVERYTHING THAT IS GOOD AND GOOD THINGS WILL COME AFTER – IT IS JUST NATURE – WE ARE NOT HONEST WITH OURSELVES AND OTHERS WE ARE NOT MOVING FORWARD…

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