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Announces Plans for September 11th Commemoration with Governor George E. Pataki

August 6, 2002

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Mayor Bloomberg: Well good morning and I want to welcome Governor Pataki to the Blue Room and his staff. This morning we are going to outline the City's plans to observe the first anniversary of the terrible attack on the World Trade Center.

I want to begin by thanking the thousands of New Yorkers who have used the Web site and phone line the City set up for this purpose. They have made suggestions about this commemoration and we have tried to listen and include and use as many as we could. Many suggestions have also come from family members who lost love ones on 9.11 and we paid particular attention to those.

The overwhelming spirit of these proposals, which were remarkable for their thoughtfulness and sensitivity, was to plan an observance that recalls the enormous tragedy of that terrible day-

That pays tribute to the heroism and sacrifice of those we lost-
And that also evokes the courage and determination that New Yorkers have shown since and on 9.11.

We've sought to respect those feelings. Our intent is to have a day of observances that are simple and powerful, that honor the memory of those we lost that day, and that give New Yorkers, Americans and people around the world the opportunity to remember and reflect.

The schedule for the day will be as follows:

Early on the morning of September 11th, five bagpipe and drum processionals will begin to march toward the World Trade Center site from points in each of the five boroughs.

The processionals will be led by the pipe and drum corps of five governmental agencies that performed heroically on 9/11 and in its aftermath: the Fire Department of New York, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the NYPD and the City Corrections and Sanitation Departments.

The processionals will converge at the World Trade Center site just after 8 a.m. The marchers will descend the ramp at which time a memorial service will begin.

At 8:46 a.m., the moment when the first of the twin towers was struck by the first hijacked airliner, I will invite all New Yorkers to take part in a moment of silence.

A eulogy that will be as powerful and as relevant on September 11th as on the day it was first delivered-The Gettysburg Address-will be read by Governor Pataki.

A cross-section of New Yorkers and people from around the world, including family members and colleagues of those lost on 9/11, will read the names of the men and women who perished at the World Trade Center site that day.

My predecessor, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani will lead that reading of names. If anyone has a tie to those lost and it is appropriate to read that out, it is Rudy Giuliani

After the reading of the names is completed, "Taps" will be played. New Jersey Governor James McGreevey will then read an excerpt from the Declaration of Independence.

The memorial will conclude at 10:29 a.m., which is the moment when the second of the twin towers collapsed. Houses of worship throughout the city are invited to toll their bells at that time.

From that moment on, throughout the day, the families of those lost on 9/11 will, for the first time, be invited to descend the ramp to the lowest level of the World Trade Center site. They will have an opportunity to remember their loved ones on what many consider sacred ground. We will ask them to take a rose, put it in a vase and we will save those roses and make them part of the permanent memorial when it is eventually built.

Governmental offices will not be closed on September 11th, and I expect that most places of business will be open. Students will attend classes; workers will go to their jobs. We will carry on our responsibilities to our families and our city.

However, this will not be any ordinary day for anyone in New York. For that reason, I urge all houses of worship in the city to open their doors throughout the day to provide occasions for individual prayer and reflection. And the Governor will talk about how we hope to have all New Yorkers not just from New York City but from New York State, all people not just from New York State, but from the entire country and the world, participate.

Late in the afternoon of September 11th, President George W. Bush will come to New York and visit the World Trade Center site.

At sunset that evening, there will be an observance at The Sphere, the sculpture that once stood in the plaza of the World Trade Center and that is now part of the temporary memorial to the victims of 9/11 in Battery Park. Heads of state from around the world will be invited to join that ceremony during which an eternal flame will be lit and I will read Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Four Freedoms.

That evening there also will be candlelight gatherings in each of the five boroughs giving us all an opportunity to reflect and be renewed.

These events will take place in Central Park, Van Cortland Park, Prospect Park, Flushing Meadows Park and Snug Harbor.

Every New Yorker should feel welcome at one of these gatherings. We ask people from around the city, the nation and the world, who cannot attend, to light candles and join their families and neighbors on street corners or in front of their homes.

These commemorative gatherings will last about 90 minutes. At these gatherings, Cultural organizations in each of the five boroughs will arrange for music that reflects the spirit of the day. Groups performing that evening will include the Bronx arts ensemble in Van Cortland Park, the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra and Brooklyn Youth Chorus in Prospect Park, St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble in Central Park, the Queens Symphony Orchestra at Flushing Meadows Park, and the Staten Island Symphony at Snug Harbor. Jazz at Lincoln Center will also perform at a location still to be determined.

I am grateful for the cooperation of these cultural groups in planning these events. Private funds are being raised for planning and implementing the day. To date, approximately twenty corporations have donated funds, and more donations are needed and are being sought.

The willingness to contribute to this commemoration embodies the spirit of community that New Yorkers have shown the world on 9/11.

That spirit is the reason why New Yorkers have won and the terrorists have lost. It has fueled our remarkable recovery from the attack of 9/11. And it is why New York always will remain a beacon of freedom and opportunity to people throughout the world. Let me now introduce Governor George Pataki-

Governor Pataki: Thank you Mayor Bloomberg. September 11, that date will live in peoples' hearts and minds for generations just as the date December 7th will never be forgotten even by those who were not alive at the time it happened. It was a day when we saw the worst of humanity engage in the worst form of barbarism and we saw New York, the best of New York, respond with the unbelievable courage and willingness to sacrifice. That makes this a unique place in the greatest country in the world and it's appropriate on the first anniversary of that horrible day that we reflect, pause and honor the memory of the 2,800 heroes who died in response to that act of barbarism.

I want to thank the mayor for having outlined the broad structure of what will happen on that date here in New York City and at Ground Zero, and I think it's appropriate that it be a day of reflection, a day of introspection, and a day of remembering.

Certainly making parts of our great country's history including the Gettysburg Address, The Declaration of Independence and the Four Freedoms. Recall the history of this country and recall the sacrifice of those heroes on September 11. We are urging people and institutions across the state to participate equally with those who will be here at Ground Zero in the city.

At 8:46, we are urging people across the state to observe a moment of silence and pause and reflect at the moment that the first attack occurred. Those children in schools that are open at that hour, and schools will be open on September 11, we urge the teachers to have appropriate moments of silence, age appropriate, class appropriate discussions with students as to what happened on September 11 and the courage and the response that New Yorkers showed.

Similarly at 10:29, the time of the collapse of the second building, we will urge our religious institutions, any academic institution, any of those that have the ability to toll their bells across New York state in reflection and honor of those who died when that second tower came down, and we will engage again in a second moment of silence and reflection at that precise time across the state so that we honor the memory of those who died in these horrible attacks.

During the course of the day, we would urge houses of worship across the state to be open from the early morning hours until the late evening hours so that individuals or groups who choose to gather in their own way and reflect on the loss, on the sacrifice, on the courage of New Yorkers on September 11th have the opportunity to do so. And I had the honor and the privilege after September 11th to attend numerous community gatherings and candlelight vigils and memorial concerts in towns and villages and counties across this state subsequent to September 11th.

At sunset on September 11, 2002, we will urge communities to hold similar gatherings, community tributes, and candlelight vigils with appropriate music to allow each community to, in its own way, reflect on the sacrifices that it may have made on September 11th and the courage that its people have shown since that date. During the course of the day, of course, there will be tributes and events done in other ways throughout this city and across the state and we will be, of course, participating in those. It is an important day.

Just as we will never forget September 11, 2001, we should all on September 11, 2002 take the time to pause and reflect, to give thanks to the heroes, to pray for those we lost, to commit ourselves to defending the freedoms and advancing the people's interests in this great city, in this great state, in honor of the memory of those heroes that we did lose.

Mayor Bloomberg: Thank you. We'd be happy to take questions.
Reporter: Why are you using the Gettysburg Address…?

Mayor: I think it's the most appropriate thing that anybody could say. If you read it, it talks about hallowed ground, it talks of the continuity that's America, and it points out that the 2,800 people who died on 9/11 are heroes who have died so we can continue to practice our religion and have the freedoms that we want. Everything that Abraham Lincoln talked about is still true today. We should remember that and keep our vigil up.

Reporter: Mr. Mayor…plan came from family members or from…?

Mayor: It was a synthesis, I think is the right word, of lots of ideas. One of the things the family members had asked for repeatedly is the eternal flame. Some of the things that they had, didn't ask for, we tried to include to make it even better. It is a collaborative effort with an awful lot of people and I think when you talk to the families you'll find that most of the requests for something simple and dignified that looks back and forward at the same time hopefully the governor and I have come up with.

Reporter: Mayor, what have some of the family members been asking about…can you talk about what went into the decision to make the…?

Mayor: We have to build for the future and I think that those who want to and all of us want to remember, want to do it in our own minds, in our own ways and I think this is the right balance.

Reporter: …in terms of security, what are the plans? Will there be a large mobilization of, obviously the police will be working on this?

Mayor: Well the New York City Police Department enhances security whenever there are gatherings and they particularly will do it when there is a symbolic date. And you would expect increased police protection, increased police presence, and a lot of the kinds of security taking place that you don't see in the background. The NYPD has the resources, they've gotten enormous cooperation from the state law enforcement agencies, and from the federal law enforcement agencies and I think together, we'll be in very good shape.

Reporter: In terms of private funding, mayor, how much funding have you raised so far and how much funding do you think for the…?

Mayor: Our estimates are that in the end it will cost about $9 million and I believe we've raised about three so far.

Reporter: inaudible

Mayor: Paying for security is one of the very big parts of it, there's a lot of logistical kinds of things, of equipment so that people at the five parks can see what's going on. You have the issue that the actual number of people that could get close enough to hear or to see is limited because of geography and so we've got to be able to let people elsewhere participate and see. I'm trying to…

Reporter: Mr. Mayor, with the decision to choose the declaration of independence, the Gettysburg address, and the four freedoms, there is certainly a message you're trying to send to the terrorists who did this. Can you…

Mayor: I think the governor and I both feel very strongly that the terrorists are not going to beat us. This is America. There have been people fighting and dying for 226 years to protect everything that we hold dear and the terrorists found so threatening. 2,800 more people gave their lives to protect that and we're not going to walk away. Governor, do you want to say something?

Governor: Three of the…This is a country that is unique in its freedoms and also has faced enormous challenges to those freedoms over our existence. Of course the greatest challenge was our beginning and the Declaration of Independence rallied and inspired people at a time before America even existed as a country. We then, had an enormous almost loss of freedom, almost loss of the United States during the course of the civil war and at the critical moment at that civil war, a great president gave an inspiring address as to what this country means and what that battlefield meant and how we were going to triumph. Notwithstanding those difficult times. And then of course during World War II, when this country faced up to the evil of Nazism and tyranny, President Roosevelt rallied the American people and we think those are all historic points in this great countries existence, when we have been challenged and threatened, when our existence was not absolutely certain and yet from each of those challenges we triumphed and we saw our country rise to greater heights. We were challenged on Sept. 11th and this country will rise to greater heights again and New York will lead the way and we think that's appropriate.

Mayor: Let me also add that, while we said that there are going to be a number of heads of states that will participate, the outpouring from around the world is really quite extraordinary. Everybody understood that New York suffering was suffering for the whole world. We expect to have a lot of heads of state participating in lighting ceremony in the evening and during the day, in the morning, Mayor Giuliani is going to be leading a group of something between 150 plus people made up of family members and other elected officials, all of whom want to contribute something. And we will, to the extent possible, make sure that as many as we can show their expression to the world of grief but also of determination, courage, and hope for the future.

Reporter: And what's your vision of schools during this? One program for all the schools…?

Mayor: I think the City schools, my hope is that number one they have a moment of silence. And number two depending on the grade, the teachers hopefully will explain to the children what took place on 9/11, why twenty eight hundred people gave their lives, what it means and what we must do in the future to prevent a terrible tragedy like this from ever happening again.

Governor: If I might on the schools across the state, we certainly want at 8:46 the teaching to stop and the students to have the chance to reflect and participate in that moment of silence. I also think after that an appropriate discussion, among, obviously it has to be relevant to the age group and the class that the students are in, where students have the chance to express their thoughts as to what September 11th means and what the courage of those twenty eight hundred heroes means. It's very important. And particularly for younger children, many of who still have fears since September 11th. It gives them the opportunity at the end of one year to put those fears aside, to reflect back on the courage, to know that they're safe, and to look to the future with confidence. And I think it's important that our schools do that with their children.

Reporter: Could you please if any heads of state, who they are, will attend the evening ceremony?

Mayor: When the General Assembly has it's meeting the next morning. We anticipate a large number of heads of states here. And we've invited them, the appropriate ones to participate. We're just sending out the letters now. It's early in the process.

Reporter: Mayor, do you know when to president (unclear)?

Mayor: No, it's still to be determined. But the president feels very strongly that what took place is a terrible tragedy, and I think he, as you know, has been out leading the effort to stamp out terrorism around the world.

Reporter: (inaudible)

Mayor: I don't know. I think we've got to first focus on this 9/11 and focus everything we can on remembering those that were lost and building a better world for those that they left behind. That's what they would've wanted, I think.

Reporter: Mayor, can you tell us to what extent the world would be participating?

Mayor: Well, the physical damage and loss of life took place here. The emotional carnage and the attack on freedom really took place around the world. The Governor, and Mayor Guliani, and Governor McGreevey and myself will be the ceremonial heads, but in fact it is everybody, particularly New Yorkers, who in their hearts will be the ones really creating the memory, and framing for the future how we can prevent terrible things like this from ever happening again.

Reporter: Can you possibly ask Kristy to come tell us how she feels about the commemoration, on behalf of the families?

Mayor: Well, it would be hard for me to say no after you asked that question. Kristy, would you like to say a word or two. Just say a word, speaking for the families. Kristy has been very helpful. An awful lot of these ideas came through Kristy. She has done the ultimate service, I will say, in a very difficult situation, where because of the emotions, and because of the diversity of news, you can't freeze everybody.

Christy Ferer: Basically, what is incredible about this, is that the Mayor and the Governor saw to it that this morning, along with the victim's families, it was very important to them to go down to Ground Zero, for many of them, and touch and feel that area. For them it remains a cemetery, a sacred ground, and it's just incredibly meaningful that they have set aside this entire morning for the families to interact at Ground Zero. And they just took every one of these suggestions and listened to them very closely and I think the families really got what they wanted out of this. And I hope will be satisfied. In addition, what I think is very important is the lighting of the eternal flame, because many of the families advocated that an eternal flame be part of the permanent memorial for Ground Zero. And for the lighting of this eternal flame, hopefully will pass from the sphere to the permanent memorial when that hopefully is done one day.

Reporter: Do you know who wanted roses?

Christy Ferer: I think the families. They wanted to be able to interact with Ground Zero in some way. And think about what you do a year after someone dies. You go to the cemetery, you pay your respects, you lay a stone, you lay a flower, and the Mayor and the Governor have seen to it that the families can try to go down that ramp and do that, because for them that is sacred ground.