Cuomo, honored guests, families of the fallen.
In those awful moments after the south tower was hit, some of the injured totaled in the wreckage of the 78th floor.
The fires were spreading, the air was filled with smoke.
It was dark.
And they could barely see.
It seemed as if there was no way out.
And then there came a voice.
Clear, calm, saying he had found the stairs.
A young man in his 20's, strong, emerged from the smoke and over his nose and mouth he wore a red handkerchief.
He called for fire extinguishers to fight back the flames.
He tended to the wounded.
He led those survivors down the stairs to safety.
And carried a woman on his shoulders down 17 flights.
Then he went back, back up all of those flights and then back down again, bringing more wounded to safety.
Until that moment when the tower fell.
They didn't know his name.
They didn't know where he came from.
But they knew their lives had been saved by the man in the red bandanna.
Again, mayor bloomberg, distinguished guests, mayor deblasio, governors christie m cuomo, and the families and survivors of that day, to all of those who responded with such courage, on behalf of michelle and myself in the american people, it is an honor for us to join in your memories.
To recall and to reflect.
But above all, to reaffirm the true spirit of 9/11. love.
And to enshrine it forever in the heart of our nation.
Michelle and i just had the opportunity to join with others on a visit with some of the survivors and families, men and women who inspire us all.
And we had a chance to visit some of the exhibits.
And i think all who come here will find it to be a profound and moving experience.
I want to express our deep gratitude to everybody who was involved in this great undertaking, for bringing us to this day, for giving us this sacred place of healing and of hope.
Here at this memorial, this museum, we come together.
We stand in the footprints of two mighty towers, graced by the rush of eternal waters.
We look into the faces of nearly 3000 innocent souls, men and women and children of every race, every creed, from every corner of the world.
And we can touch their names and hear their voices and glimpse the small items that speed to the beauty of their lives -- speak to the beauty of their lives.
A wedding ring, a dusty helmet, a shining badge.
Here we tell their story, so that generations yet unborn will never forget.
Of coworkers lead others to safety, of passengers who stormed the cockpit, of men and women in uniform who rushed into an inferno, our first responders who charged up those stairs.
A generation of service members, our 9/11 generation, who have served with honor in more than a decade of war.
A nation that stands tall and united and unafraid.
Because no act of terror can match the strength and character of our country.
At the great wall and then rock that embraces us today, nothing can ever break us.
Nothing can ever change who we are as americans.
And that september morning, allison lost her son.
Months later, she was reading a newspaper, an article about those final minutes in the towers.
Survivors recounted how a young man wearing a red handkerchief had led them to safety.
And in that moment, allison knew.
Ever since he was a boy, her son had always carried a red handkerchief.
Her son wells was the man in the red bandanna.
Wells was just 24 years old.
With a broad smile and a bright future.
He worked in the south tower on the 104th floor.
He had a big laugh, a joy of life, and dreams of seeing the world.
He worked in finance, but he had also been a volunteer firefighter, and after the planes hit, he put on that bandanna and spent his final moments saving others.
Three years ago this month, after our seals made sure that justice was done, i came to ground zero and among the families here that they were allison crowley.
And she told me about wells and his fearless spirit and she showed me a handkerchief like the one he wore that morning.
And today as we saw on our tour, one of his red handkerchief is on display in this museum.
And from this day forward, all of those who come here will have a chance to know the sacrifice of a young man who, like so many, gave his life so others might live.
Those we lost live on in us.
In the families who love them still.
In the friends who remember them always.
And in a nation that will honor them now and forever.
And today it is my honor to introduce two women forever bound by that day, united by their determination to keep alive the true spirit of 9/11. wells' mother allison and one of those he saved.
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