President Obama and the First Lady joined first responders, victims' family members, and other dignitaries to dedicate the September 11 Memorial Museum on Thursday morning. Obama delivered brief opening remarks after being introduced by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, according to The New York Times.
The president thanked the first responders, survivors and family members for allowing him "to join in your memories, to recall and to reflect, but above to all to reaffirm the true spirit of 9/11 — love, compassion, sacrifice — and to enshrine it forever in the heart of our nation."
He highlighted the story of Welles Crowther, the 24-year-old man in a red bandana who led several people to safety on the day of the attack, before being caught in the tower's collapse. "They didn't know his name, they didn't know where he came from, but they knew their lives had been saved by the man in the red bandana," Obama said. A red bandana donated Crowther's family is displayed in the museum.
Welles's mother, Allison, spoke after the president. "Welles believed we are all connected, as one human family. That we are here to look out for and care for one another," she said. "It is our greatest hope, that when people come here and see Welles's red bandana, they will remember how people helped each other that day.
In addition to the president, there were many other brief speeches by both politicians (like current mayor Bill de Blasio, former mayor Rudy Giuliani, and former governor George Pataki) and well as relatives of 9/11 victims and some of the first responders who served on that day.
The museum, located at Ground Zero, next to the public memorial, and in the shadow of the new World Trade Center, will open to the public on May 21.