President Barack Obama paid tribute to the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks yesterday during a ceremony at the newly opened museum and memorial built to commemorate their lives.
"Here we tell their story so that generations yet unborn will never forget. 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, our 9/11 generation who have served with honor in more than a decade of war," Obama said.
In his speech before 9/11 victims’ families and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who helped spearhead the memorial during his tenure, the president highlighted New York and the country’s resilience amid such a tragedy.
“[The United States] is a nation that stands tall and united and unafraid because no act of terror can match the strength or the character of our country,” he said. "Nothing can ever break us. Nothing can change who we are as Americans."
Before his address, Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama viewed the museum with former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as well as Bloomberg and his wife.
The president added that the museum will be a “profound and moving experience” for those who come to visit.
“I want to express our deep gratitude to everybody who was involved in this great undertaking for bringing us to this day, for giving us this sacred place of healing and of hope,” Obama said. “Those we lost live on in us. In the families who love them still. In the friends who remember them always. And in a nation that will honor them, now and forever.”
But while the ceremony was one of triumph, the museum and memorial has been met with its share of complaints from New Yorkers, who say the $24 admission fee is absurd and argue that it should be free. Bloomberg, who chairs the memorial foundation, said he agreed the fee is high, and recommended people write to their congressmen to press for more federal funding.
The museum and memorial will be opened to the public on May 21.
(Photo: Mike Segar-Pool/Getty Images)