While the nation reflects on the destruction and loss felt in Lower Manhattan as the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, Mayor Michael Bloomberg made a poignant request Tuesday: Don’t say Ground Zero.
“We will never forget the devastation of the area that came to be known as Ground Zero ... but the time has come to call those 16 acres what they are: The World Trade Center and the National September 11 Memorial and Museum,” Bloomberg said in a speech about the revitalization of the area during an Association for a Better New York breakfast.
The mayor used the address to hail the past decade, which has seen a surge in population and a return of business, as a “rebirth” for the community.
“This Sunday, as we reflect back on the past, let us remember not only the agony and anguish of the attacks, but how we channeled our pain into something positive and powerful,” said Bloomberg, who took office in January 2002.
He mentioned the building of the 76-story residential tower on Spruce Street designed by architect Frank Gehry and hundreds of millions of dollars in park and street improvements as investments signifying the area’s resurgence.
“There are now more people living in Lower Manhattan than at any time since 1920,” Bloomberg said.
The mayor also visited the 9/11 Memorial and Museum with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, the first Cabinet member to see the completed memorial, according to the Pentagon. He warned that the threat posed by al-Qaida hasn’t waned.
“They continue to plan attacks and I don’t think we can take anything for granted,” said Panetta, the former CIA director. “The potential for that kind of attack remains very real.”
The city will be under tight security Sunday, as President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush will be among the dignitaries at the anniversary memorial along with families of the victims of those who perished.