The Poetry of 9/11: Reverent Words From Our Elected Officials

President Obama speaks during tenth anniversary ceremonies at the site of the World Trade Center September 11, 2011, in New York. POOL/Allan Tannenbaum/Polaris Images.
President Obama speaks during tenth anniversary ceremonies at the site of the World Trade Center September 11, 2011, in New York. POOL/Allan Tannenbaum/Polaris Images.
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: U.S. President Barack Obama (R), first Lady Michelle Obama (2nd R), former President George W. Bush (2L) and former first lady Laura Bush walk past the North Pool of the 9/11 Memorial during the tenth anniversary ceremonies of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center site, September 11, 2011 in New York City. New York City and the nation are commemorating the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks which resulted in the deaths of nearly 3,000 people after two hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia and one crash landed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Kristoffer Tripplaar-Pool/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: President Barack Obama visits the North Pool of the 9/11 Memorial during the tenth anniversary ceremonies of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center site, September 11, 2011 in New York City. New York City and the nation are commemorating the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks which resulted in the deaths of nearly 3,000 people after two hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia and one crash landed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Kristoffer Tripplaar-Pool/Getty Images)
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"God is our refuge and strength,/an ever-present help in trouble." (Getty)
President Obama speaks during tenth anniversary ceremonies at the site of the World Trade Center September 11, 2011, in New York. POOL/Allan Tannenbaum/Polaris Images.
Laura Bush, former President George Bush, Michelle Obama, and President Obama salute during tenth anniversary ceremonies at the site of the World Trade Center September 11, 2011, in New York. POOL/Allan Tannenbaum/Polaris Images.
<> on September 11, 2011 in New York City.
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11 September 2011-(left-right) On the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, former NY governor George Pataki and current NJ governor Chris Christie at the North Pool at the September 11th Memorial at the World Trade Center site. Photo Credit: Jefferson Siegel/Sipa Press
11 September 2011-On the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and his wife, Judith, at the North Pool at the September 11th Memorial at the World Trade Center site. Photo Credit: Jefferson Siegel/Sipa Press
Former New York Governor George Pataki and Anthula Katsimatides, who lost her brother on 9.11, cry at the North pool of the 9.11 Memorial during tenth anniversary ceremonies at the site of the World Trade Center September 11, 2011, in New York. POOL/David Handschuh/Daily News
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United States President Barack Obama (C) shakes hands with a man near the North Pool of the 9/11 Memorial during tenth anniversary ceremonies at the site of the World Trade Center September 11, 2011, in New York. POOL/Justin Lane/EPA
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks during the tenth anniversary ceremonies of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center site, September 11, 2011 in New York City. New York City and the nation are commemorating the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks which resulted in the deaths of nearly 3,000 people after two hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia and one crash landed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Kristoffer Tripplaar-Pool/Getty Images)

One of the things Mayor Michael Bloomberg insisted on for the 10th anniversary of 9/11 was no speeches, at least not from the elected officials who would take turns at the lectern following the six moments of silence throughout the morning—one for each of the four plane strikes, one for the collapse of each World Trade Center tower. trans The Poetry of 9/11: Reverent Words From Our Elected Officials

While the mayor’s decision was controversial (New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was none too happy about his soliloquy), the selections proved rather telling, especially since the mayor also banned religious leaders from speaking at the event. This meant that the only prayers said were those of the president and the mayor’s predecessor.

*President Barack Obama, 8:46, Flight 11 strikes the north tower, Psalm 46.
*President George W. Bush, 9:02, Flight 175 hitting the south tower, Abraham Lincoln’s letter to Lydia Bixby.
*Governor Andrew Cuomo, 9:37, Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon, passage from Franklin Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms” speech.
*Governor Chris Christie, 9:59, Collapse of the south tower, Mary Lee Hall’s “Turn Again to Life.”
*Governor George Pataki, 10:03, Crash of Flight 93 near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, “The Names” by Billy Collins.
*Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, 10:28, Fall of the north tower, Ecclesiastes 3:1-9.

    Interesting that the two conservative governors read the most progressive pieces.

    mchaban [at] observer.com | @MC_NYC

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