Sen. Inouye Introduces Legislation to Fund National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum at Ground Zero


Sen. Daniel Inouye and his wife, Irene Hirano Inouye, recently visited the construction site of the 9/11 memorial with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. (Facebook)

WASHINGTON — Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii) introduced legislation Friday to provide federal funds for the operation and maintenance of the National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum at Ground Zero.

The legislation allows the U.S., through the secretary of the interior, to take ownership of the lands, the memorial and the museum, after the appropriate approvals are secured from the governor of New York, the governor of New Jersey, and the mayor of New York City.

The Department of the Interior will enter into a cooperative agreement with the Board of the non-profit National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center Inc., which may provide technical and financial assistance to the memorial and museum relating to its operations and maintenance.

The legislation would authorize appropriations of $20 million in FY 2013, the first full fiscal year after which the museum is scheduled to open to the public, and in subsequent years.

All funds appropriated must be matched by non-federal sources, such as admission fees, gifts and fundraising, with the resulting federal share being about 33 percent or less of the overall budget of the memorial and museum.

“I thank Sen. Inouye for his support of the memorial and his leadership on this issue,” said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “Millions of people from across the country and around the world will come to visit the memorial. It is truly a national monument in New York and I appreciate the senator’s work to bring federal support to help ensure all who want to come and visit the memorial can for generations to come.”

“The 9/11 Memorial is for our city, the nation, and the world,” said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, chair of the National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum. “Sen. Inouye’s legislation is an important part of securing the legacy of 9/11. We hope that Congress will come together in the same spirit of unity that we saw in the aftermath of the attacks to support the memorial. This tribute ensures that future generations will understand the enormous loss suffered, the sacrifices made, and the resilience that defined our nation’s response to the attacks.”

“We are grateful to Sen. Inouye for his leadership in supporting one of our nation’s most sacred sites – the National September 11 Memorial. With the support of Congress, we as a country can fulfill our obligation to never forget and to preserve the history of 9/11 and our country’s response in the aftermath,” said Joe Daniels, president and CEO of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.

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Inouye’s Statement for the Congressional Record

On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, nearly 3,000 people who would lose their lives in the most horrific attack on America since the bombing of Pearl Harbor began their day like it was any other.

Many got dressed and headed for work.  Others packed their bags and went to the airport.

All would leave their loved ones that morning believing they would be home soon to continue the lives they worked so hard to create.

Instead these innocents were murdered by terrorists at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and in a field in Shanksville, Pa.

This despicable act forever changed our great nation and the world.

Families were shattered, a war began, and the relative peace and security we enjoyed was ripped away.

I recently toured the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan and although the rubble has been cleared and great structures are rising from the earth, there is a solemn air that permeates the place.

Despite the bustling crews and the towering cranes stacking metal and shaping the new towers it is still the spot where husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers died in fiery fashion.

Being there reminded me of the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the formative years that followed.

I was a boy of 17 when I heard the announcer shout over the radio that Japanese planes were attacking Pearl Harbor. I remember running outside with my father to see the bright red suns painted on the wings of the Zeroes as they raced toward their target amid black puffs of anti-aircraft fire.

I knew at that moment that my country and my life would never be the same. Six decades later that moment came again when I watched passenger jets crash into the side of the World Trade Center.

After Pearl Harbor I put on the uniform and went off to fight for this country as did thousands of my brave brothers from the Greatest Generation. Our nation was shocked into action by the events of Dec. 7, 1941 and a generation of Americans fought and died to shape the new world that came after the bombs fell.

America was awakened in similar fashion on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001 and 10 years later we are still fighting and dying to create a future better than the one we lost that day.

Today, next to the new towers at the World Trade Center site, is the National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum at Ground Zero.

It is a magnificent structure.

Two waterfall-rimmed pools, situated in the original foot prints of the fallen towers, sit side by side. The names of the fallen are engraved in panels that form a railing around each pool.

It is a fitting memorial for those who died but we must honor their memory by telling their story and educating the world about what happened on Sept. 11, 2001.

Yes, it was America that was attacked, but the world changed forever that day and this memorial and museum is much more than a collection of artifacts, it is a symbol of America reborn and a reminder that the world order is always changing …

Mr. President, it is our duty to help perpetuate this seminal moment in American history.

Let us take responsibility for preserving our past and driving our future by honoring the fallen and their families with this lasting tribute.