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Obama at 9/11 museum dedication: No act of terror can match strength of US



By JONATHAN LEMIRE and JENNIFER PELTZ

NEW YORK (AP) -- 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 and helpfulness that followed the attacks.

"It's an honor to join in your memories, to recall and to reflect, but above all to reaffirm the true spirit of 9/11 - love, compassion, sacrifice - and to enshrine it forever in the heart of our nation," he told an audience of victims' relatives, survivors, rescuers and recovery workers at the ground zero museum's dedication ceremony.

"Like the great wall and bedrock that embrace us today, nothing can ever break us. Nothing can change who we are as Americans."

After viewing some of the exhibits, including a mangled fire truck and a memorial wall with photos of victims, the president touched on some of the many stories of courage amid the chaos: the passengers who stormed a hijacked plane's cockpit over a Pennsylvania field and first responders who rushed into the burning twin towers. He also honored military members "who have served with honor 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 center's stricken south tower. He died in the tower's collapse.

One of the red bandannas he made a habit of carrying is in the museum, and Crowther's mother, Alison, told the audience she hoped it would remind visitors "how people helped each other that day, and that they will be inspired to do the same in ways both big and small. This is the true legacy of Sept. 11."

By her side was Ling Young, one of the people Welles Crowther rescued.

"It was very hard for me to come here today," but she wanted to thank his parents, she said.

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 following behind them.

The museum, which commemorates the 2001 terrorist attack, as well as the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, opens to the public on May 21.

Reflections from dignitaries - including New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, current New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani - 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 center, 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 and tax dollars.

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hotspringspark May 15 2014 at 3:26 PM

This article is not about a dedication of a 911 Museum; it's about Obama and some grand photo ops.

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1 reply
Maura hotspringspark May 15 2014 at 3:39 PM

@ Hot and Johnny Lee, he is the PRESIDENT OF THESE UNITED STATES, HE DOESN'T NEED A PHOTO OP!!! The only thing blasphemous is YOU not having the decency to honor all who perished on this day. I was taught by MY parents to love everyone . Your ignorant remarks tell us exactly what YOUR parents taught you. We see that your ignorance is generational>

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thomashollman19 May 15 2014 at 3:39 PM

WHY NOT HAVE THIS PHONY IMPERSONATOR STAND IN FRONT OF THE SINKHOLE IN FLORIDA FOR A PHOTO OP IT COULD REPRESENT EVERYTHING HE AND HIS OLD LADY STAND FOR IN THIS COUNTRY FROM THE BLACK COMMUNITY TO THE ECONOMY IT COULD BE THE NEW DEMOCRATIC SYMBOL FOR THE PARTY PERFECT FOR THAT LOSER THAT FROZE UP IN BENGAZI CAUSING THE DEATHS OF THE 4 AMERICANS

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5 replies
rsbuttery May 15 2014 at 3:40 PM

Everyone knows he is an empty suit. He comands no respect expect from his coolade dinking fools. Putin shows the lie that he is in comand of anything. 2 and a half can not come soon enough. Carter was a great president compared to this ...............

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3 replies
oldhorsema May 15 2014 at 3:46 PM

Does anyone believe the 9/11 Museum will show photos of Bush reading " My Pet Goat" to a bunch of school kids while his staged 9'/11 was taking place ?

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5 replies
heymom003 May 15 2014 at 3:46 PM

Where was President Bush and Laura Bush? Were they invited to come and speak? They were both instrumental in calming our nation in the days after the 9/11 attacks. I would have prefered to hear them speak before the people that were there today. The organizers have missed an opportunity for the Nation to hear an uplifting message from them again. Especially since our oval office occupier thinks the war on terror is over. When we all know it is not.

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11 replies
kcarthey May 15 2014 at 3:47 PM

Other that the Iranian hostage situation, a quasi political response to our support of the Shah, does anyone remember massive Islamic Terrorist attacks on the US prior to Reagan? Yet early on there were two huge attacks, the first being on our military in Lebanon and the second on our embassy there. Reagan cut and ran only to then supply arms, aid and comfort to the Taliban in Afghanistan and the same to Sadam in Iraq.
Giiven this lack of retaliation and this support to those who would harm us, I have to question which President was most closely allied with terrorists and those who want to kill us.

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6 replies
madddddddddddddd May 15 2014 at 3:50 PM

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1 reply
mrpixter madddddddddddddd May 15 2014 at 4:20 PM

Congratulations: You just did a perfect immitation of the sounds Dubya made during the eight years in office.

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fudd1975 May 15 2014 at 3:50 PM

Shame on you haters....using the dedication of this place where fellow Americans died. Have you no shame to use this discussion to share your shameful hatred for our President..have you no decency!?

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3 replies
Tim May 15 2014 at 3:51 PM

Tragic, conflict, drama. We fight among ourselves. Let us all not forget. They attacked US. Can we not come together in that fact. Who cares about our disagreements.
They attacked US. All of US. Can we not come together in that fact. Can we not get through our hatred for one another and just take the time to remember those who died fighting for life.

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1 reply
lolajharrison Tim May 15 2014 at 4:09 PM

Tim !!! So well said .....I lost friends in the Pentagon blast, and they attacked the United States of Amercia !!

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a73yobroad May 15 2014 at 3:55 PM

WE ARE PROUD OF OUR BELOVED U.S.A.

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