As he dedicated the new September 11 museum, US President Barack Obama said no act of terror could match the strength and character of the United States and the true spirit of that terrible day was love, compassion and sacrifice.
"Nothing can ever break us," Obama said at the dedication in New York for the National September 11 Memorial Museum. He said the museum tells the story of 9/11 so that future generations will never forget.
Obama said it was a moment to reflect on the true spirit of 9/11 and enshrine it forever in the nation's heart. He praised the men and women who helped save lives in the attack, including those who gave their lives in the effort. The president said the deceased live on in us and in their friends and families.
Moments earlier, Obama and first lady Michelle Obama toured the museum, viewing a memorial wall with photos of victims and a mangled fire truck, ahead of a ceremony marking its opening.
Obama walked quietly through an expansive hall with former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, with the first lady, former president Bill Clinton and former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton following on. Hundreds of dignitaries and victims' relatives, survivors and rescuers were there to view the museum built to commemorate the 2001 terrorist attack, as well as the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing.
By turns chilling and heartbreaking, the ground zero museum leads people on an unsettling journey through the terrorist attacks, with forays into their lead-up and legacy.
There are scenes of horror, including videos of the skyscrapers collapsing and people falling. But there also are symbols of heroism, ranging from damaged fire trucks to the wristwatch of one of the airline passengers who confronted the hijackers.
"You won't walk out of this museum without a feeling that you understand humanity in a deeper way," museum president Joe Daniels said. The museum, which opens on May 21, and memorial plaza above were built for US$700 million in donations and tax dollars. Work was beset by construction problems and squabbles, but its leaders see it as a monument to unity.