Former President George W. Bush will join President Barack Obama at a ceremony at the World Trade Center site on Sept. 11, the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg revealed on his weekly radio show.
It’s the first time a current or former U.S. president has participated in the annual event, Bloomberg News reports.
Other government officials will attend the ceremony, Mayor Bloomberg announced, including governors Andrew Cuomo of New York and Chris Christie of New Jersey; George Pataki, who was New York’s governor in 2001; New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg; and Rudolph Giuliani, who was New York mayor in 2001.
However, they will make no speeches, he said. Instead the lawmakers will read poems or quotes. "This cannot be political," Bloomberg said. "No speeches whatsoever. That's not an appropriate thing."
This year, the names of all of the individuals who died in Washington, D.C., and in a field near Shanksville, Pa., will be read, the Wall Street Journal reports. In previous ceremonies only the names of those who died in New York were read.
The ceremony will also mark the opening of a memorial plaza at the Ground Zero site, the Associated Press reports. The plaza contains two waterfalls that drop from street level into reflecting pools on the footprints of the destroyed World Trade Center buildings. The names of the 3,000 people who died in the terrorist attacks are etched into bronze railings in the memorial.
Only relatives of victims will be allowed inside on Sept. 11. The memorial opens to the public the next day, but a limited number of tickets, available online, will be distributed each day for entry. Some days have already sold out, Bloomberg noted.