President Obama is set to meet with several families of victims of the September 11 attacks during his visit to Ground Zero today.
In addition to meeting with families of 9/11 victims and emergency workers, Obama is planning on laying at wreath at Ground Zero.
Prior to visiting the site of the deadly terror attack, Obama will visit Engine 54′s firehouse at 48th & 8th – expect street closures in the area.
The president does not have any scheduled remarks planned.
It will be Obama’s first visit to Ground Zero as commander-in-chief.
Ground Zero itself, still very much a construction site, is nonetheless taking shape. The footprints of the fallen towers have been immortalized in fountains and reflecting pools. The Freedom Tower is now 60 stories tall. Construction of the 9/11 memorial is moving forward quickly in advance of the 10th anniversary of the attacks.
Obama’s visit comes a day after he made the decision not to release photos that purportedly show the terrorist mastermind with a gaping head wound. Obama expressed concern the release of the photos would be inflammatory and seem like gloating.
“We don’t need to spike the football,” Obama told 60 Minutes.
The president’s visit is going to prompt some street closures and will impact PATH trains.
PATH service to the World Trade Center will shut down for about an hour around noon.
Obama invited his predecessor, President George W. Bush, to the ceremony, but he declined the invitation and has kept out of the spotlight.
Retired FDNY deputy chief Jim Riches is one of the more recognizable representatives of September 11 families and will meet with Obama.
Many family members including Sally Reganhard, who lost her son Christian, stop short of saying bin Laden’s death brings them closure.
“If I can say that someone in my position is happy, he’s given us some solace and consolation,” said 9/11 family member Sally Regenhard.
For Riches, this presidential visit was also an opportunity to make a plea for the budget-crunched New York City Fire Department.
“I have three sons in the Fire Department, and the mayor is looking to close 20 fire houses. I think that’s irrational. We’re the number one terrorist target in the world,” he said.