National September 11 Memorial Museum dedication - FOX 35 News Orlando

National September 11 Memorial Museum dedication

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President Barack Obama speaks at the dedication ceremony for the National September 11 Memorial Museum on Thursday, May 15, 2014 in New York. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, Pool) President Barack Obama speaks at the dedication ceremony for the National September 11 Memorial Museum on Thursday, May 15, 2014 in New York. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, Pool)
MYFOXNY/AP - A cavernous room known as Foundation Hall served as the site for the dedication ceremony on Thursday of the new National September 11 Memorial Museum 

The steel and glass museum holds heart-wrenching artifacts, including mangled World Trade Center steel and personal mementos from the tragic day.

Dignitaries including President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, NJ Gov. Chris Christie, former New York Gov. George Pataki, Mayor Bill de Blasio and  former New York City Mayors Michael Bloomberg, Rudy Giuliani and David Dinkins were in attendance.

"It's an honor to join in your memories, to recall and to reflect, but above all to reaffirm the true spirit of 9/11 -- love, compassion, sacrifice -- and to enshrine it forever in the heart of our nation," said President Obama to an audience of victims' relatives, survivors, rescuers and recovery workers.

Obama also honored the memory of Welles Crowther who was known simply as "the man in the red bandanna."  Obama said the 24-year-old equities trader wore the red handkerchief over his nose and mouth while calmly leading survivors down the stairs to safety. He carried one woman on his shoulders down 17 flights.

Obama said Crowther represents the "true spirit" of 9/11 -- love, compassion and sacrifice.

The museum which houses more than 10,000 artifacts, 23,000 photographs, 1,900 oral histories and 500 hours of film and video, officially opens to the public on May 21.

Part of the slurry wall that held back Hudson River water is among the moving artifacts.

The public symbols of survival and loss include the battered "survivors' staircase" that hundreds used to escape as the skyscrapers burned and crumbled.

The last column removed from ground zero is covered with missing-person posters and memorial inscriptions by ironworkers and rescue personnel.

The museum also houses controversy. A few 9/11 families are outraged that thousands of sets of human remains will be housed in the same building as the museum. But some people who lost loved ones told Fox 5 the remains belong here.

Admission to the museum costs $24 for adults. It will have free hours on Tuesdays. Families of 9/11 victims and 9/11 rescue and recovery workers have free access. The memorial plaza will always remain free, museum officials said.

MYFOXNY/Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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