The 9/11 Museum was dedicated today in a softly-lit, well-orchestrated and somber ceremony seven stories underground at what was called “the site” for weeks after, and then as President Bush began to beat the war drums, became known as Ground Zero. As ceremonies go, this one was beautiful and minimally nationalistic. But even dressed in the grandeur of the dedication, the day itself is remembered as confusing, chaotic, unthinkable and devastating. Anyone living in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut knew who was missing by watching whose house suddenly had cars parked outside at all hours. The rest of us were deeply watching the news, some for the first time in their lives, watching the first responders, their ranks devasted, the steelworkers, the military personnel, the volunteers who rushed in to help. They were magnificent, is the only way to say it.
Here’s video of the dedication. You’ve already heard at the last minute Idina Menzel, scheduled to sing Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” immediately following Christie’s remarks, did not in fact do so. Awkward moment averted. Myself, I lost it right at the start when fresh-scrubbed children sang Leonard Bernstein’s “Somewhere,” none of them alive when it happened, 70 feet underground, sweet honey in the rock.
Skip ahead to 16:58, which is where the ceremony begins. Obama at 26:00. Cuomo at 38:20. Christie at 41:38 (the substitute song “Amazing Grace” following by 9/11 widow and Broadway star LaChanze). Guiliani at 52:38. Pataki 1:00:18. But really, the best stuff is in between.