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WTC Memorial Unveiled

Aired January 14, 2004 - 10:52   ET


DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Let's go to New York City right. They're about to announce the adjustment will be to the World Trade Center. New York Governor George Pataki. Let's listen in.
GOV. GEORGE PATAKI (R), NEW YORK: Thank you for those kind words and for your leadership and helping to make lower Manhattan what it will be for the people of New York and people of America.

Thank you all for being here this morning. Just a few weeks ago we were right here for a celebration when we unveiled the Freedom Tower you can see soaring over the site, the brainchild of David Childs and Daniel Liebeskind working together to make that symbol of our resurgence and our belief in freedom one step closer to the reality that it will achieve in a very short period of time.

Today is a very different day because you don't celebrate the unveiling of a memorial. A memorial is an emotional tribute to an event that, for many of us, regardless of how far in the distance it will ultimately be timewise, will always be incomprehensible and always be unforgettable.

That memorial had to be consistent with the Liebeskind master plan for Ground Zero. But it had to be more than that. It had to be a powerful remembrance of the tremendous loss of September 11 and yet at the same time of courage and sacrifice of New Yorkers and America who responded with such incredible courage.

It was a daunting task. And it was a task that we were very fortunate to have 13 of the finest individuals, not just from America but around the globe, who agreed to serve as a jury to go through that process. Vartan Gregorian, the chair of the jury is here, along with many of the jury members. And I know you're going to be introducing those jury members. And I just have to thank you and all of the jury members.

We asked you last year, to give hundreds of hours of your time. You have given thousands of hours of your time. Looking at more than 5,200 different submissions. And making sure ultimately the decision made was one you could be proud of and one that the people of New York and people of America generations from now could be proud of as well.

And I also have to thank the architect, who, working with this team, put together the concept of Reflecting Absence. It meets the critical elements that the jury laid out. It sets aside the footprints with two pools, where the sense of loss and absence that we all feel and will always feel will remain. It surrounds that with a lush garden, as a resurgence and symbol of life and its renewal. And I don't intend to explain it because Michael Arad has done just an extraordinary job. And, Michael, congratulations to you. We're proud of you.

And to Pete Walker, who has flown in from the West Coast to help to make sure that the landscaping is appropriate. Thank you for being here and for being a part of Michael's team.

Very simply, very simply, this is a powerful memorial. A powerful memorial that above ground, will allow us to have some concept of what we lost on September 11, through the reflecting pools. And then, as you descend, you will descend along a ramp that parallels the slurry wall, which will be exposed as proposed in Daniel Liebeskind's master plan as a symbol of strength and the fact the wall held and stood together in the face of those despicable attacks of September 11.

Below ground, people will be able to get right to the bedrock to be able to see the sites where so many of our heroes and fellow New Yorkers and friends lost their lives.

And among the passageways, between those two pools of reflecting water, there will be a number of chambers. One to hold the remains of those who, to this day, still remain unidentified. One where family members will have a private space, where they can go, and express their feelings. One where the public can go to light a candle or leave flowers.

And one of the important elements, Michael, that I'm very pleased is a part of this is the memorial center between the slurry wall and the south footprint where there will be artifacts of September 11. And we will be able to tell the story of the heroes who responded with such courage on September 11 and those we lost on September 11.

It's here in that memorial center where we'll be able to see and to feel and to touch the twisted steel from the tower itself.

KAGAN: We've been listening to New York Governor George Pataki there announcing the unveiling of the World Trade Center memorial. The selection was made last week. There significant changes happening to the design that was submitted by Michael Arad. We expect to hear from the designer in just a bit. So we will go back and listen in yet again.


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