By Carmen Glover
U.S. President Barack Obama led a high-powered contingent of politicians to dedicate the 9/11 Memorial Museum in Lower Manhattan yesterday in a ceremony that was uplifting and inspiring. Dignitaries, families of the survivors and viewers who watched the ceremony live on television or as it streamed online, were first treated to musical renditions from various choirs as the ceremony got underway. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, chairman of the 9/11 board of directors, took the stage to deliver a poignant speech.
“We are here today to help dedicate a great museum, one that rises out of the bedrock of our city, our history and our hearts. In the years to come, the 9/11 Memorial Museum will take its place alongside fields of Gettysburg, the waters of Pearl Harbor and the Vietnam Veterans’ Museum as a sacred marker of our past and a solemn gathering place-a place where we can remember those who dies and honor acts of courage and compassion that saved lives and lifted spirits,” he said.
President Obama began by describing the raw emotions felt by some of the survivors in the moments after the towers were attacked and the acts of heroism by one young man in particular.
“In those awful moments after the south tower was hit, some of the injured huddled in the wreckage of the 78th floor. The fire was spreading and the air was filled with smoke. It was dark and they could not see. It seemed as if there was no way out and then there was a voice saying he had found the stairs. They didn’t know his name but they knew their lives had been saved by the man in the red bandana,” he said, describing the selfless and courageous actions of volunteer firefighter Wells Crowther, 24, who worked in the south tower.
Crowther’s mother, Alison, was later joined onstage by one of the women he rescued, Liang Young.
“My husband Jefferson and I couldn’t be prouder of our son,” said Alison Crowther, as she described her son who saw everyone in the world as “being connected.”
Obama shared that while touring the museum earlier with First Lady Michelle Obama, it dawned on them the importance of being able to “recall, reflect and reaffirm the true spirit of 9/11: love, compassion, sacrifice and to enshrine it forever in the heart of our nation.” Biting his lower lip in his trademark style, he paused and said:
“No act of terror can match the strength and character of our country. Nothing can ever break us, nothing can change who we are as Americans.”
Among the other attendees were: Former President Bill Clinton and Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, NJ Governor Chris Christie, Former NYC Mayor Rudy Guiliani; Former New York Governor George Pataki and a contingent representing the Port Authority, firefighters, police officers, families of the victims and survivors. Some of the politicians had their spouses or significant others with them at the event.
The 9/11 Memorial Museum will remain open for the next six days exclusively to the families of the victims and survivors. It will open to the public officially on 5/21/2014.–OnPointPress.net