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Obama, Bush to Participate in 9/11 Anniversary Ceremony

By Jill Colvin | July 29, 2011 11:57am
President Obama pauses to remember those people killed on 9/11 after laying a wreath at Ground Zero.
President Obama pauses to remember those people killed on 9/11 after laying a wreath at Ground Zero.
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DNAinfo/Julie Shapiro

MANHATTAN — President Barack Obama will join former President George W. Bush at the name-reading ceremony commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the September 11 attacks, marking the first time a president has participated in the event.

Speaking on his weekly radio show, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that both presidents will be reading poems to mark the solemn day.

"There are no speeches whatsoever," the mayor said. “This cannot be political. That’s why there’s a poem or a quote or something that each of the readers will read."

While both presidents have visited the site before, this is the first time either will participate in the ceremony, a spokeswoman for the mayor confirmed.

The highest-ranked White House officials to have participated in the official ceremony in the past have been Vice President Joseph Biden, who was there in 2009 and 2010 and Vice President Dick Cheney, who was there for the 2003 ceremony, the mayor's office said.

While the ceremony has always included the reading of the names of those who died at Ground Zero during the attack,  the names of those who died at the Pentagon as well as in the plane crash in Shanksville, Pa., will also be recited for the first time this year.

There will be moments of silence to mark when the planes hit and when the towers crumbled, as well as to commemorate the two additional attacks.

The presidents will be joined by a select group of officials including governors Andrew Cuomo, Chris Christie of New Jersey and George Pataki, who was governor at the time of the attacks.

Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani will also participate, alongside Bloomberg.

“That’s it,” Bloomberg said.

"There’s an awful lot of people who would like to participate and you just can't do that."

In addition to the readings, the family members in attendance will be allowed to walk through the memorial plazas and look at their family members' names on the memorial wall.

The public will be allowed access the next day.