New York City’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, addressed the Association for a Better New York on Wall Street, Tuesday morning.
His message was one that many New Yorkers have agreed with for years: stop calling the area ‘Ground Zero.’
Just days away from the long-awaited opening of the new September 11th Memorial, the carnage the world saw after the collapse of the Twin Towers is a decade-old memory and not representative of the downtown area today.
Bloomberg acknowledged the vivid memories that so many still have of the World Trade Center site. “We will never forget the devastation of the area that came to be known as ‘Ground Zero’ — never,” he said. But he insisted that “the time has come for us to call those 16 acres what they are: The World Trade Center and the National September 11th Memorial and Museum.”
Stressing the improvements made to the district since 2001, Bloomberg predicted that “the rebirth and revitalization of lower Manhattan will be remembered as one of the greatest comeback stories in American history.”
“And I believe it will stand as our greatest monument to those we lost on 9/11,” he added.
“Let us remember not only the agony and anguish of the attacks, but how we channeled our pain into something positive and powerful,” he urged.
“Let us remember not only how the towers fell, but how we rose up, determined to defend our freedoms. And let us remember that when we unite as Americans, and when we put patriotism ahead of partisanship, there is no challenge that this country can’t meet.
“That — that — is the ultimate lesson of our past decade,” he told his audience.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the National September 11th Memorial will take place on Sunday — the 10-year anniversary of the 2001 attacks.
The ceremony will celebrate the opening of the two large pools and the park around them, but the museum itself is not expected to open until September 2012.