Commemorating the most tragic day in U.S. history will be slightly easier to watch his year — the 9/11 memorial will still be pretty sad, as the names of all the victims of the terrorist attacks will be read at the sight of the World Trade Center. But unlike previous years, politicians won’t get a chance to chime in with speeches that would likely translate to “look at me! Look at me! I’m sad about 9/11, too! Now, can I count on your vote?”
The National September 11 Memorial Foundation — at the apparent directive of Mayor Mike Bloomberg — decided earlier this week that the 9/11 memorial is not the place for political speeches, and the long-winded addresses from elected officials will not be permitted.
“This year, the reading of the names by family members will be the exclusive focus of the program,” Joe Daniels, president and CEO of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, said in a letter to victims’ family members on Wednesday.
In a statement, Daniels went on to say, “The National September 11 Memorial is focused on honoring the victims and their families in a way free of politics, and this ensures that continues.”
The move to ban political speeches comes after governors Andrew Cuomo and Chris Christie each got a little pissy over last year’s nationally televised 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
Cuomo, who (despite what he says) is running for president in 2016, wanted to deliver his own remarks at the ceremony, rather than simply read a predetermined passage, as has been the tradition. Christie pushed for a larger speaking role for the Port Authority chairman.
Both requests were denied.
Critics aren’t thrilled with Bloomberg because they feel — as the chairman of the non-profit 9/11 Foundation — he gave himself the largest role of any pol in the ceremony; the mayor will both introduce and conclude the event, while other elected officials will be sidelined.
Regardless, we’ll take a little more Bloomberg if it means a little less everyone else.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 13, 2012