This year, there will be no politicians speaking at the ceremony for the eleventh anniversary of September 11th.
The names of victims will be read aloud by relatives of the victims, and six moments of silence will be observed to commemorate the respective collisions and collapses of the towers, the attack on the Pentagon, and the crash of Flight 93 in Pennsylvania. But this year, Newser reports, politicians will be absent from the service entirely. According to the foundation in charge of the 9/11 memorial, the reading of the victims’ names will be this year’s “exclusive focus.”
In past 9/11 ceremonies, Rudy Giuliani and George Pataki – mayor of New York City and governor of New York State in 2001 respectively – have always spoken, and have been joined by current mayor Michael Bloomberg, subsequent state governors of New York and New Jersey, and various senators. Other notable speakers have included Condoleezza Rice, George W. Bush, and, last year, Barack Obama.
This year’s lack of politicians is a result of recent political gridlock and the dissatisfaction that it has engendered among the families of the 9/11 victims, AP reports. Mayor Bloomberg expressed some doubt as to whether victims’ names should still be read aloud given their inscription on the memorial, and construction of a museum intended to accompany the 9/11 memorial has slowed over political disagreements between the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, led jointly by the governors of New York and New Jersey. Some have gone so far as to accuse governors Cuomo and Christie of betraying the dead, and Bloomberg of allowing costs to spiral and for blocking progress.
All three of the aforementioned politicians have expressed their desire to keep the 9/11 site free of politics, but have evidently failed to convince.
Regarding the decision to keep politicians out of the 9/11 anniversary proceedings this year, Joe Daniels, president of the memorial foundation, said “he National September 11 Memorial is focused on honoring the victims and their families in a way free of politics, and this ensures that continues.”