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.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

This forum has been closed.
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…

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid