Obama to Ground Zero: Live Blog
U.S. President Barack Obama bows his head after laying a wreath at the 9/11 Memorial in New York on May 5, 2011.
May 5th, 2011
09:52 AM ET
4 years ago

Obama to Ground Zero: Live Blog

President Barack Obama will meet with survivors and family members of those killed in the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history Thursday, days after American commandos killed the leader of the group behind that massacre.

3:35 p.m. - Air Force One landed at Andrews Air Force Base.

2:59 p.m. - Air Force One took off from JFK.

2:49 p.m. - According to the White House pool report, the wreath used by he president was supplied by Flowers of the World, which had a shop on the ground floor of 4 World Trade Center before 9/11.

2:42 p.m. - Marine One landed at FJK airport. The president strolled quickly from the chopper chopper and saluted before jogging up the steps of Air Force One.

2:30 p.m. - Obama is aboard Marine One en route to JFK airport.

2:22 p.m. - Obama is in the motorcade rolling to the Marine One landing zone.

1:35 p.m.
- The president is participating in a private meeting with approximately 60 9/11 family members. The families were selected in consultation with the National 9/11 Memorial staff.

1:17 p.m. – The president is in the motorcade departing Ground Zero, en route to a closed press stop where he will meet with victims' families.

1:06 p.m. @edhenrycnn: now entire NY and NJ Congressional delegations lining up behind President. moving but eerily quiet here

1:04 p.m. @edhenrycnn: President now in v solemn moment greeting victims' families, hugging

1:03 p.m. @edhenrycnn: potus in silent prayernow #GroundZero

1:02 p.m. - Obama arrived at Ground Zero and participated in a wreath-laying ceremony on Memorial Plaza at the site of the September 11th Memorial and Museum before observing a moment of silence. He was accompanied by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Port Authority Chairman David Samson.

Uniformed officers from the FDNY, NYPD and Port Authority lined the president's path before he placed the wreath at the foot of the Survivor Tree, planted at the Memorial in December 2010. The tree was discovered and freed from the piles of rubble in the plaza in October 2001.

12:54 p.m. – The president has arrived at Ground Zero.

12:50 p.m. – The president's motorcade departed the police station and is en route to Ground Zero.

12:47 p.m. - Obama, Giuliani and NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly greet uniformed police officers at the precinct. The president talked about those lost on 9/11, saying "We keep them in our hearts. We haven't forgotten."

12:47 p.m. @edhenrycnn: Vigianos lost two boys on 9/11 & their dad, also a former first responder, came to Ground Zero day after painful day looking for his sons

12:45 p.m. @edhenrycnn: @JohnKingCNN just noted NY has generations of firefighters and cops the way Midwest families had generations of auto workers - so true

12:45 p.m. @edhenrycnn: thinking about the Vigiano family from my hometown of Deer Park, NY - they lost two sons, both first responders

12:34 p.m.– Obama and Giuliani arrive at a New York Police Department precinct in lower Manhattan. The First Precinct covers the World Trade Center and Ground Zero area and was first to arrive at the scene on 9/11.

12:26 p.m.
– Chief Edward Kilduff of the New York City fire department said the president and former Mayor Giuliani had lunch with the firefighters at the fire house.

"The president connected well to the fire fighters," Kilduff said. "We're extremely appreciative the president was able to join us for lunch."

12:15 p.m. – Obama is in the motorcade departing the fire station.

11:36 a.m.
- On the way out Obama paused at the wall commemorating those lost on 9/11 that reads "Pride of Midtown Engine 54 Ladder 4 Battalion 9."

11:35 a.m. -- @edhenrycnn: President tells firefighters that courage of military and intel sends a msg that "when we say we never forget we mean what we say."

11:35 a.m. - Obama and Giuliani worked the line of firefighters at the firehouse before Obama spoke to the group. He said he decided to make the trip to thank them "from the bottom of my heart," but added nothing can be done to bring back the friends we lost.

"I just want to let you know that you're always going to have a President and an administration who’s got your back the way you’ve got the backs of the people of New York over these last many years," Obama said.

11:24 a.m. – Obama visits Engine 54 firehouse in New York that lost 15 men on 9/11. He will deliver informal remarks to firefighters and view a bronze memorial plaque commemorating the men.

11:21 a.m. @edhenrycnn reports buttons being sold near Ground Zero that read "Mission Accomplished 05.01.11."

11:17 a.m.
- @edhenrycnn: People lining streets hoping to see president

11:13 a.m. - The president is in the motorcade and departing the landing zone.

11:12 a.m. - Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani greeted Obama when Marine One landed.

11:04 a.m.
- Marine One has landed at the Wall Street landing zone.

10:55 a.m. - Obama disembarked Air Force One at JFK airport in New York with a wave before rushing over to shake hands with a group of people assembled by the plane. He then boarded Marine One.

10:45 a.m. - White House Press Secretary Jay Carney briefed reporters aboard Air Force One en route to NYC, according to the pool report. He said Obama thinks it's "appropriate and fitting" to visit New York to recognize the city's loss on September 11, 2001. Carney said the trip is an effort to help New Yorkers and Americans achieve a sense of "closure."

10:42 a.m. – Air Force One has landed in New York City.

10:31 a.m. @AWMooneyCNN: Obama was last at Ground Zero in 2008 with then-presidential candidate John McCain

10:00 a.m. – Air Force One is wheels up headed for New York City.

9:40 a.m. – Obama has left the White House on Marine One with top aide Valerie Jarret, Chief of Staff Bill Daley, and national security adviser John Brennan.


Filed under: 9/11 • President Obama
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Four and The Door

    I'm so proud of him. He has come such a long way from those days in 2008 when he was traveling all over America proclaiming that the Iraq war was, "unwinnable". Look at how he has warmed up to our military and their capabilities since then!

    May 5, 2011 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  2. shawn

    Congradulations President Obama!!! Smart moves for the President! After 8 years of Republican Rule,you methodicly "Got the Job Done! Hail to the Chief, Impeccable courage from our "Brave Military Patriots!! Kudos to our Administration and military!!! Republicans,"Start working on "JOBS" Instead of Useless Rehtoric Pandering????

    May 5, 2011 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  3. Rudy NYC

    @Four and The Door: Iraq War was "unwinnable" by George W. Bush's definition, that being to establish a democracy in a state where democracy was just a word. A state where Freedom of Choice meant to do it your way, not the people's way. Saddam ruled Iraq with an iron fist for a reason. Iraq was composed of at least 3 major disparate societies, and the resulting civil war after his government was toppled is case in point.

    The Iraq War was unwinnable because it destablized the entire region. In other words, the check and balance Saddam provided against Iran was removed. Saddam attacked what he felt where potential Iranian threats on a regular basis, particularly sites that could be used to advance a nuclear program. The Iraq War was "unwinnable" in concept and execution.

    May 5, 2011 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  4. Four and The Door

    Rudy NYC
    ... The Iraq War was "unwinnable" in concept and execution.
    _____________________________________________________________________________________
    I gotta give you an "A" for effort. "Concept and execution...do you write for the New York Times by any chance?

    May 5, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Four and The Door

    I'm so proud of him. He has come such a long way from those days in 2008 when he was traveling all over America proclaiming that the Iraq war was, "unwinnable". Look at how he has warmed up to our military and their capabilities since then!
    -------------------------------------------------–
    And I'm proud of you, Foursies, and how far you've come in gaining a better understanding of OUR (yours and mine) President.
    You are under a misconception in regards to how this President has always viewed our military: with respect for them, their families, and their LIVES. He's looked out for them via legislation and calling special attention to the needs of those seving abroad, and the families they leave behind. This President is VERY patriotic, he just doesn't pay them the flamboyant 'lip service' that others do. His actions speak for him. They always have.
    And Iraq was unwinnable. Wrong country, wrong reasons, wrong apporach, inexcusable loss of military and civilian life.
    God bless you and our President.

    May 5, 2011 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  6. Ben Dover

    Thank you Mr. President for waking up and continuing the Bush policies that made this all possible. Looking forward to seeing the campaign photo's. Now its time for Obama to shut down AG Holder on the CIA investigation begun in 2009 into interrogations of captured terrorists/murderers. Time to quit prosecuting the people who are protecting us.

    May 5, 2011 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  7. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Mr. President you continue to raise the bar in America sir! Your good judgment, and wise words regarding NOT releasing the photos of a dead man reached many an ear, and opened many an eye. It would've been not only classless, and barbaric to have done so, but indeed it would've put the lives of Americans here and abroad in additional jeopardy.
    You ARE the adult in "the room". The room just happens to be the United States of ALL Americans.

    I salute you, I am proud of you, and proud of our country.
    USA Obama 2012.

    May 5, 2011 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  8. Rudy NYC

    @Four and the Door:
    I write for the benefit of all of the sycophants who have overlooked the facts, for those who have been taught what to think by polictical spin, for those who have lost the ability to see clearly and think for themselves, and especially TO those who believe that being the loudest makes their point of view the most correct.

    I thank-you for being a follower of what I write and joining my growing fan club.

    May 5, 2011 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  9. Four and The Door

    How much do you wanna bet Obama doesn't know who salutes first, a First Class Petty Officer or an Ensign?

    May 5, 2011 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  10. ConservaFASCISTS -aka- Mammon

    Four and The Door

    Must we remind you that Iraq was a war of choice and not of necessity. Bush probably could've cought Osama if he didn't divert his attention from our mission.

    May 5, 2011 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I thank-you for being a follower of what I write and joining my growing fan club.
    -------------------------------------------------–
    Stay HUMBLE Rudy NYC. Let others toot your horn, if indeed it deserves tooting.

    May 5, 2011 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  12. melinda

    For the person who commented about whether or not the president would know who to salute first I say WHO CARES ! Thank you

    May 5, 2011 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  13. Mullins

    Does he do anything without consideration to re-election? That is what sinks Obama for me. He is a man with one mission and that is not to lead our country but to stay elected. He has learned alot the last two years maybe he will come around by 2012 but I doubt it.

    May 5, 2011 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  14. Frank

    Let's start the Obama Victory Tour!

    May 5, 2011 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  15. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Four and The Door

    How much do you wanna bet Obama doesn't know who salutes first, a First Class Petty Officer or an Ensign?
    -------------------------------------------------–
    Now you sound like a First Class Petty something!!
    Ever hear the expression "each one teach one"?
    There is a protocol person in the WH in charge of teaching ALL presidents proper procedure. Nobody claims that the President knows EVERYTHING! He did not serve in the military, much like some in government who suppossedly "served" in the military did not.
    What exactly is your point?!?

    May 5, 2011 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  16. Rudy NYC

    @Four and The Door:
    I gotta give you an "A" for effort. "Concept and execution...do you write for the New York Times by any chance?
    --------------------------–
    Yes, that's right. Failed execution caused it to be "unwinnable." Recall what led up to "MIssion Accomplished". Forces quickly overwhelmed the Republican Guard, toppled the government, took Baghdad, which Saddam into hiding. The major failure was to immediately begin withdrawing troops from the Iraq as if the Iraqi people would suddenly unite in the name of Democracy all by themselves. Instead, the troop drawdown left no one in charge and civil war ensued to fill the power vacuum.

    Yes, the strategy employed by the Bush administration was an "unwinnable" one.

    May 5, 2011 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  17. anagram_kid

    Four and the Door, I for one would like to thank you. You are the perfect example of the modern Republican and accurately demonstrate their philosophy of, ‘if you don’t agree with me on everything, I cannot agree with you on anything’. This attitude will be the destruction of the current incarnation of the Republican party, and for that I heartily thank you.

    May 5, 2011 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  18. Fair is Fair

    Obama took the risky approach of sending in an assoult team for one reason and one reason only – to obtain proof of death. So where's the proof? SHOW THE PICTURES, Obama.

    May 5, 2011 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  19. Fair is Fair

    typo – "assault" team.

    May 5, 2011 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  20. Proud to be an Independent !

    Thank you for keeping your promise president Obama and going after Bin Laden , This act did far more for our country as a whole than Bush getting thousand's of soldier's killed and trillion's of dollar's wasted in Iraq hunting for WMD's , which he never found ! Thank you President Obama for keeping the focus where it truly needed to be ! The republican's can try to give bush credit but he has been on record as saying he doesn't know where Bin Laden is and he didn't care ! I'm sorry republican's but you lose this round !

    May 5, 2011 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  21. Four and The Door

    Mullins
    Does he do anything without consideration to re-election?
    ____________________________________________________________________________________________
    I hope the lighting in NYC is good today because campaign photos need to really pop.
    ( ...Still wondering why GWB didn't go to Obama's campaign stop today?!?)

    May 5, 2011 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  22. Frankie

    I think it is a good thing to go and lay a wreath where so many of our fellow Americans perished as to say, Now you may rest in peace, justice is done.

    May 5, 2011 11:30 am at 11:30 am |