President Barack Obama is not expected to make any public statements when he visits Ground Zero in New York on Thursday, just days after the announcement of the death of Osama Bin Laden after U.S. forces killed him in Pakistan.
Instead, Obama will participate in a wreath laying ceremony at the September 11th National Memorial currently under construction on the World Trade Center site where the twin towers fell. After the ceremony he is expected to meet privately with 9/11 victims' families and first responders. More than 2,800 people were killed on the site, which to many is considered hallowed ground.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday the President thinks it's entirely fitting and appropriate to visit the site of Ground Zero in the wake of this significant and cathartic moment for the American people.
And he wants to lay a wreath to honor the victims, to honor the first responders who so courageously rushed to the scene and, in many cases, gave their own lives to try to save others; to honor the spirit of unity in America that we all felt in the wake of that terrible attack, he said.
I think the power of that requires no words. And he will also meet with families of the victims and first responders in private.
Obama said on Monday at ceremony honoring military service members that the world is safer; it is a better place because of the death of Osama bin Laden.
Today, we are reminded that, as a nation, there's nothing we can't do -- when we put our shoulders to the wheel, when we work together, when we remember the sense of unity that defines us as Americans, Obama said.
And we've seen that spirit -- that patriotism -- in the crowds that have gathered, here outside the White House, at Ground Zero in New York, and across the country -- people holding candles, waving the flag, singing the National Anthem -- people proud to live in the United States of America.
He is expected to arrive at John F. Kennedy airport at 10:35 a.m. EDT and participate at the wreath laying ceremony at 1:25 p.m., meet with the families and responders, then depart shortly thereafter.