President Obama Visits Midtown Firehouse Before Ground Zero Ceremony

Associated Press - May 05, 2011

President Barack Obama arrived in New York Thursday to participate in a ceremony at Ground Zero marking the death of Usama bin Laden, who orchestrated the 9/11 attacks that felled the Twin Towers in 2001.

Before heading to downtown Manhattan, Obama stopped at a firehouse on the city's west side that lost 15 men on 9/11 -- more than any other New York firehouse.

"When we say we never forget, we mean what we say," Obama said to the crowd gathered inside.

Obama was then expected to continue on to Ground Zero to take part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the National September 11th Memorial. He will also meet privately with first responders and family members of those who died in the terrorist attacks.

The president is not expected to deliver formal remarks in New York. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday that Obama wanted to mark the "significant and cathartic moment" that bin Laden's death represented.

Carney said the president wished to honor 9/11 victims and first responders and "honor the spirit of unity in America that we all felt in the wake of that terrible attack."

"I think the power of that requires no words," the press secretary added.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and other dignitaries are scheduled to join Obama for the ceremony at Ground Zero.

Obama last visited the site on Sept. 11, 2008, according to the New York Post.

In Washington, Vice President Joe Biden will participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Pentagon's 9/11 memorial and meet privately with 9/11 family members and first responders.