Hot on the heels of the killing of Osama bin Laden, who masterminded the World Trade Center attacks nearly a decade ago, President Barack Obama will be visiting Ground Zero today specifically for a wreath-laying ceremony.Â AM NY reports that Obama will not speak publicly, but will spend his time meeting with selected families of victims of the tragedy in private.
Obamaâ€™s NYCÂ itinerary is as follows: He will fly into JFK via Air Force on at 10:40 AM, meet with the NYPD and FDNY, as well as Port Authority Police. He will take part in the wreath-laying ceremony at 1:25 PM and have a private meeting at the September 11 Memorial Museum with 50 9/11 victims’ families selected by the White House. He is slated to leave the city at 3:10 PM.
Security will be on high alert throughout the city during his visit. Additional measures includeÂ plainclothes officers positioned amongst uniformed cops; sharpshooters stationed on rooftops;Â manholes welded shut; and mailboxes and garbage cans removed along the president’s travel route to prevent attacks from hidden bombs.
PATH train service to the WTC station will be suspended while Obama is there. Street closings in Lower Manhattan are also expected.
What do you think of Barack Obamaâ€™s visit to NYC today?
President Obama finally broke his silence on the Park51 mosque and community center and stipulates that Muslims are within their right to build a place of worship during a State Dinner at the White House celebrating the Muslim holiday Ramadan:
â€œLet me be clear: as a citizen, and as President, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country,” President Obama said in the State Dining Room. “That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in Lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable.
We must all recognize and respect the sensitivities surrounding the development of Lower Manhattan,” he said. “The 9/11 attacks were a deeply traumatic event for our country. The pain and suffering experienced by those who lost loved ones is unimaginable. So I understand the emotions that this issue engenders. Ground Zero is, indeed, hallowed ground.
Our enemies respect no freedom of religion. Al Qaedaâ€™s cause is not Islam â€“ it is a gross distortion of Islam. These are not religious leaders â€“ these are terrorists who murder innocent men, women and children. In fact, al Qaeda has killed more Muslims than people of any other religion â€“ and that list of victims includes innocent Muslims who were killed on 9/11.
It is a testament to the wisdom of our founders that America remains deeply religious â€“ a nation where the ability of peoples of different faiths to coexist peacefully and with mutual respect for one another stands in contrast to the religious conflict that persists around the globe.”
Nearly 24 hours later, after GOP scrutiny attacked on his comments, President Obama made a second statement while vacationing on the Florida coast:
“I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque there.”
What do you think about President Obama’s comments on Park51?