NY Daily News - July 30, 2011by Erin Einhorn and Jonathan Lemire
Two presidents, three governors and two mayors will lead the solemn ceremony to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks - but no other elected officials are invited to participate.
"This cannot be political," Mayor Bloomberg said Friday on his weekly radio show. "There are an awful lot of people who would like to participate, and you just cannot do that once you open it up."
Leading the ceremony on the West Side Highway overlooking Ground Zero will be Presidents Obama and George W. Bush, New York Govs. Cuomo and George Pataki, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Mayors Bloomberg and Giuliani.
"The argument here is elected officials and those who were there at the time and had some influence," Bloomberg said.
The pols will each be given poems or other solemn readings and will not be allowed to give speeches.
As in past years, they'll stop for moments of silence at the exact times when planes hit each of the World Trade Center towers, and when each of the buildings fell.
Family members of victims will then help read the list of those who were killed.
For the first time this year, the Ground Zero ceremony will include the names of those killed in the attack on the Pentagon and those on United Flight 93, which crashed in Shanksville, Pa.
Only family members of victims will be allowed access to the new 9/11 memorial plaza when it opens for its first day on Sept. 11.
They'll be able to find their family members' names on the waterfalls that have been built around the voids marking where the two towers stood.
The general public won't be invited to visit the plaza until Sept. 12, and crowds will be restricted to a certain number per day and must have tickets to enter the plaza.
The restrictions are for security and logisitical reasons since much of Ground Zero is an active construction site.