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Giuliani to speak at Sept. 11 anniversary, but not read names, Bloomberg says

Giuliani to speak at Sept. 11 anniversary, but not read names, Bloomberg says

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani will speak at the sixth anniversary remembrance of the World Trade Center attack, although he will not read the names of victims.
His presence at the somber event has drawn criticism from some relatives of those who perished in the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, with family members arguing that the ceremony is no place for presidential politics.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Tuesday in a radio interview on WCBS that Giuliani, who was the city's mayor at the time of attack, would participate in this year's roll call of the names of the nearly 3,000 people killed on Sept. 11.
Later, a Bloomberg spokesman clarified the mayor's remarks and said Giuliani would not recite the victims' names but instead would read a passage from a text, which has not yet been chosen. The recitation of the names will be done by firefighters, police officers and other rescue workers.
The somber reading has been the centerpiece of the annual ceremony since the 2001 attack and has become a tradition for thousands of people who lost loved ones. Giuliani was the first reader at the first anniversary in 2002.
Giuliani's planned participation upset some relatives.
"He's cashing in on 9/11 like it's his own personal tragedy _ it's a photo op on a campaign swing for him," said Jimmy Riches, a deputy fire chief whose son was among the 343 firefighters killed.
Sally Regenhard, whose firefighter son also was killed, said she was stunned that the city would ask a presidential candidate to speak there.
"They should have every other single presidential candidate then, because this is outrageous," Regenhard said. "This is going to be seen across the country as a blanket endorsement from us _ it's totally inappropriate."
A Giuliani spokeswoman declined comment.
No declared presidential candidate has spoken at the ground zero ceremony; indeed, candidates typically have suspended campaigning on Sept. 11.
Bloomberg and Giuliani were on opposite sides of a disagreement weeks ago about where the ceremony would be held this year. Some relatives of victims were angered when the city decided to move the event from the western edge of the 16-acre (6.5-hectare) trade center site to a plaza off the southeast corner because of construction at the site.
Giuliani, on the campaign trail, said he sympathized with them and was saddened it would not be held in its usual place. A politician whose national reputation is linked to his handling of the attack, he said he had great emotional attachment to the site itself.
"I feel very bad that it's going to be moved," he said last month.
Bloomberg and the families worked out a compromise that still keeps the ceremony in the new location but gives loved ones some minimal access to the bedrock at the bottom of the seven-story pit that once was the trade center's basement. Many mourners feel as though that area is a grave site and say they need to touch the ground to feel connected.
Reading aloud all the names of the dead can take more than three hours. Interspersed among the names are readings by public officials and four moments of silence to mark the times when the two planes hit and the towers collapsed.