Obama to Lay Wreath at WTC Site, Meet With 9/11 Relatives

The president is expected at ground zero on Thursday.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    President Barack Obama will meet at the memorial Thursday with families of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks, following the death of Osama bin Laden on Sunday in Pakistan.

    President Barack Obama will lay a wreath at ground zero and meet with relatives of those who lost loved ones on 9/11 when he visits New York City on Thursday to mark the killing of Osama bin Laden by U.S. forces.

    Obama has visited the site before, but this week's event is expected to be particularly significant.

    "All of the bad memories have come rushing back to the families of what happened that terrible day, and to the rest of us, and the president should be here meeting with the families," Mayor Bloomberg said Wednesday.

    Raw Video: Bloomberg, Kelly on Security in NYC

    [NY] Raw Video: Bloomberg, Kelly on Security in NYC
    Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly discuss the state of security in New York City after Osama bin Laden's death. MTA's Jay Walder also weighs in.

    The president is scheduled to make an appearance at the Lower Manhattan site around midday. He is also set to meet with first responders and families. 

    "This will give us a little closure that the guy who has been responsible for my son's murder will be held accountable," said Jim Riches, whose son was killed. Riches said he is among the victims' relatives who will meet the president on Thursday.

    Riches said he wants to thank Obama and the Navy SEALs "for having the courage to go after bin Laden."

    "He promised to do it before, and it was a great thing to do," Riches added. "He was a man of his word."

    Obama invited former President George W. Bush to accompany him, but Bush declined.

    Some family members also say they hope to lobby Obama about some ongoing issues at the site, including a plan to store unidentified remains there and the arrangement of the engraved names on the memorial panels.

    A woman who lost her husband in the World Trade Center attack said she thinks Obama's visit is "a very nice gesture."

    "I love the fact that he's honoring our loved ones," said Barbara Minervino, of Middletown, N.J.

    Law enforcement officials said the city will stay on high alert for Obama's ground zero visit.

    Police officials say there are no specific threats against the city. But they also say they assume bin Laden's followers might try to avenge his death with a terror attack.

    White House press secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday that the president has decided not to release graphic death photos of bin Laden. Carney said Obama told CBS for an upcoming interview: "This is not who we are. We don't trot this stuff out as trophies."

    Since the dramatic raid on bin Laden's lair was announced, the NYPD has directed commands across the city to be on the lookout for suspicious packages at landmarks and other potential targets. Officers also were working overtime to give extra protection to the subways during rush hours.

    Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said this week that the NYPD's "assumption is that bin Laden's disciples would like nothing better than to avenge his death with an attack in New York."