The ceremony at the World Trade Center site marking the 10th anniversary of the 9-11 terror attacks will be a solemn but stately event. It will include an appearance by former President George W. Bush, and a chance for victims’ families to view the names of loved ones etched into the memorial, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.
Bloomberg and President Barack Obama will be joined by leaders who were in charge during the 2001 attacks, including Bush, former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and former New York Gov. George Pataki. Current New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will also be there, he said.
Speaking Friday on his weekly radio show on WOR-AM, Bloomberg said the lawmakers will read short poems or quotes. No speeches will be made.
“This cannot be political,” he said. “So that’s why there’s a poem or a quote or something that each of the readers will read. No speeches whatsoever. That’s not an appropriate thing.”
The mayor also revealed a few more details of the Sunday, Sept. 11 ceremony. It will be held on the highway to the west of the site, and only relatives will be allowed inside the memorial to look for the names of their loved ones, etched into the railings at two huge waterfalls built in the footprint of the World Trade Center. The falls descend from the street level down into a void.
The names of the nearly 3,000 victims — including those who died at the Pentagon and aboard United Flight 93 that went down in Shanksville, Pa. — will be read aloud for the first time.
The public will be allowed into the space, still a major construction site, the day after the ceremony but only with tickets. Bloomberg said limiting the number of people is a safety precaution as the work continues on 1 World Trade Center, the PATH station and the museum.
He said there have been hundreds of thousands of reservations already, and a few days are already booked solid. He estimated that 1 million people annually will visit the site.
The museum is still under construction and is scheduled to open next year. Artifacts from the terrorist attacks are slowly being assembled for the space, including a cross-shaped steel T-beam which was discovered by a construction worker in the smoldering rubble. A national atheist group sued over the inclusion of the cross in the museum. It says all beliefs should be included, or none at all.
Bloomberg said on his radio show that the group had a right to sue, but organizers had a right to place the cross there.
“This clearly influenced people,” he said. “It gave them strength. In a museum you want to show things that impacted people’s behavior back then, even if you don’t think it was right. It’s history. Museums are for history.”
Bloomberg said other religious relics would be in the museum: a Star of David cut from World Trade Center steel, a Bible found during the recovery effort and a Jewish prayer shawl.