9/11 names to be read again at ceremony

A first responder comforts another as they lean

A first responder comforts another as they lean on the engraved stone of the World Trade Center's South Tower Memorial pool. Recovery workers and first responders were honored during a tribute at the Sept. 11 memorial that also marked the 10-year anniversary of the formal end of cleanup operations at Ground Zero. (May 30, 2012) Photo Credit: Craig Ruttle

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The name of each 9/11 victim will be read again at the 11th anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks, but no politicians will speak.

The National September 11 Memorial & Museum sent a letter Wednesday to relatives of victims, telling them that, for the second year, the anniversary commemoration would be held at the museum site in lower Manhattan. As in previous years, family members were invited to read all the names.

There had been speculation that perhaps names would not be read after the 10th anniversary, but museum spokesman Michael Frazier said that had never been seriously considered.

"I don't know where that conjecture came from," he said.

The change in this year's commemoration would be that no others, including politicians, would speak "and that includes Mayor [Michael] Bloomberg," Frazier said.

There had been some criticism that having elected officials speak politicized the event.

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"Going forward, there will be no politicians' involvement," Frazier said.

As in previous years, participants would pause six times, "representing the moments each tower was struck and fell, and the moments of the attacks on the Pentagon and Flight 93," the letter said, adding that even though the program will end at about noon, the memorial will remain open to family members until 8 p.m.

The letter also says the "Tribute in Light" will return at sundown as it has every year on the anniversary.

"By coming together as a community, we aim to provide a sense of healing as we remember and reflect on those solemn days," the letter says.

Diana Hetzel of Rockville Centre, who lost her husband, Thomas Hetzel, 33, a firefighter, in Tower One, said that although she had never read any names, she was glad the tradition was continuing.

"It needs to be out there," she said. "It changed the world and I think we do need to be reminded of that."

The letter is the first indication that the reading of the names would continue to be part of the ceremony as the 11th anniversary approaches. Some family members had protested after Bloomberg, the memorial and museum foundation's chairman, had said he wasn't sure if the names should be read individually now that they are on display at the memorial at Ground Zero. With AP


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