By Justin Sink
President Obama marked the opening of the 9/11 museum Thursday in New York, declaring that the site would preserve the memory of the 2001 terror attack’s nearly 3,000 victims "so generations yet unborn will never forget."
"Here at this memorial, this museum, we come together. We stand in the footprints of two mighty towers, graced by the rush of eternal waters," Obama said.
"It is an honor for us to join in your memories, to recall and to reflect, and above all to reaffirm the true spirit of 9/11, love, compassion, sacrifice, and to enshrine it forever in the heart of our nation," the president said.
Obama highlighted one such story — that of Welles Crowther, a 24-year-old worker "with a broad smile and a bright future" — who shepherded other employees to safety before ultimately being caught in the collapse of the South Tower.
"Those who come here will know the sacrifice of a young man who, like so many, gave his life so others might live," Obama said.
The president said the artifacts and remnants gathered at the museum showed the resiliency of the American people.
"No act of terror can match the strength or the character of our country ... nothing can ever break us," the president said. "Nothing can change who we are as Americans."
Obama was joined on a guided tour of the museum by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, as well as former President Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The president and first lady also took time to meet privately with the victims' families before delivering remarks.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Rudy Giuliani, who was mayor on the day of the attacks, were among the other officials who spoke at the ceremony.
De Blasio has called on the federal government to help subsidize the museum, in a bid to allow free access for the public.
When the museum opens, tickets will cost $24 for adults, except for active service members, victims’ families and those involved in the recovery effort.
The White House declined to weigh in on that request when asked on Wednesday.
“I haven’t heard discussion of that request or that observation by the mayor,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said Wednesday. “I think tomorrow the president and the first lady will be focused on the opening of the museum and all that it means to the people of New York, the people of the country.”
The museum, which cost an estimated $700 million, was funded primarily through private donations solicited by Bloomberg.