Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Classified Sites

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

At 9-11 museum dedication, Obama says no act of terror can match strength, character of the US

Two people embrace while gathered on the plaza of the National September 11 Memorial to watch the telecast of the dedication ceremony at the National September 11 Memorial Museum in New York on Thursday, May 15, 2014. (AP Photo/Justin Lane, Pool)

Enlarge Image

Two people embrace while gathered on the plaza of the National September 11 Memorial to watch the telecast of the dedication ceremony at the National September 11 Memorial Museum in New York on Thursday, May 15, 2014. (AP Photo/Justin Lane, Pool)

NEW YORK, N.Y. - President Barack Obama praised the new Sept. 11 museum on Thursday as "a sacred place of healing and of hope" that captures both the story and the spirit of heroism that followed the attacks.

The museum commemorates Sept. 11, 2001, when 19 al-Qaida hijackers crashed four airliners into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania. Nearly 3,000 people were killed in an attack that plunged the U.S. into a decade of war in Afghanistan against al-Qaida's Taliban protectors.

"Like the great wall and bedrock that embrace us today, nothing can ever break us. Nothing can change who we are as Americans," he told an audience of victims' relatives, survivors and rescuers at the ground zero museum's dedication ceremony.

After viewing some of the exhibits, including a mangled fire truck and a memorial wall with photos of victims, Obama touched on stories of courage amid the chaos 13 years ago: the passengers who stormed a hijacked plane's cockpit and first responders who rushed into the burning World Trade Center towers. He also honoured military members "who have served with honour 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 centre's south tower. He died in the tower's collapse.

Ling Young, one of the people Crowther rescued, said "it was very hard for me to come here today," but she wanted to thank his parents.

Before the ceremony, Obama walked quietly through an expansive hall with former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. First lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton followed.

Notably absent was former President George W. Bush, whose presidency was defined by the attacks less than a year into his first term.

Bush was invited, according to the museum. But Bush spokesman Freddy Ford said he was unable to attend because of a scheduling conflict.

Reflections from dignitaries at Thursday's ceremony were interspersed with the voices of everyday people caught up in Sept. 11.

Retired Fire Department Lt. Mickey Cross described being trapped for hours in the wreckage of the north tower — and then joining the recovery effort after being rescued. "There was a real sense of caring for each other," he said.

Ada Dolch, a school principal whose sister died at the trade centre, recalled turning her grief into inspiration to open a school in Afghanistan. "What a kick in the head to Osama bin Laden!" she said.

Kayla Bergeron remembered walking down 68 flights of stairs in the north tower, amid confusion and fear that there was no way out. Her final steps to safety were on an outdoor stairway, now in the museum as the "survivors' stairs."

"Today, when I think about those stairs, what they represent to me is resiliency," she said.

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. It opens to the public on May 21.

___

Associated Press writer Josh Lederman contributed to this report.

  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article has not yet been rated.
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 0 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on brandonsun.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

There are no comments at the moment. Be the first to post a comment below.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

Comment
  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Brandon Sun Business Directory
Sudden Surge: Flood of 2014
Opportunity Magazine — The Bakken
Why Not Minot?
Welcome to Winnipeg

Social Media