Giuliani slams pre-recorded audio at 9/11 Memorial Museum ceremony

Dueling commemorations of the 19th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks occurred just a block away from each other in Lower Manhattan Friday after the 9/11 Memorial & Museum swapped out the traditional live reading of victims’ names for pre-recorded audio citing coronavirus concerns.

“If I was the mayor, this wouldn’t have happened,” Rudy Giuliani, who was New York’s mayor during 9/11, told reporters near Zuccotti Park, a few steps away from the Memorial & Museum.

“They wouldn’t be allowed to hold the ceremony with pre-recorded names. I‘d take the tape recording and burn it, instead of burning the American flag, and I’d get people up and read the names,” Giuliani said.

Giuliani skipped the official museum ceremony for a live reading of the victims’ names by family members hosted by the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation at the corner of Liberty and Church streets.

Meanwhile, Mayor de Blasio joined Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, vice president Mike Pence, museum chair Michael Bloomberg, who became mayor a few months after 9/11, and other local elected officials at the pre-recorded reading of the names.

Vice President Mike Pence made a quick appearance at the museum ceremony around 8:30 a.m. before heading over to the live reading nearby.

At the foundation commemoration the vice president’s wife, Karen Pence, read from Ecclesiastes shortly after 9:00 a.m.

Rudy Giuliani attending the Tunnel to Towers ceremony today in NYC.
Rudy Giuliani attending the Tunnel to Towers ceremony today in NYC.AP

“There is a time for everything. And a season for every activity under the heavens. A time to be born and a time to die,” Karen Pence read.

The vice president followed.

“In memory of all those we lost on this day 19 years ago, in memory of the heroes that were forged that day and heroes forged on battlefields ever since and for the families, loved ones and friends they left behind, I pray these ancient words will comfort your hearts and ours,” Pence said.

The foundation took safeguards against spreading the virus by enclosing the podium with transparent dividers.

Joanne Barbara, who lost her husband Assistant FDNY Chief Jerry Barbara in the attacks, applauded the foundation for keeping the tradition alive.

“The names must always be read, we must never forget,” the New Jersey widow told The Post.

“I haven’t been in the city in ten months but this is extremely important to me. The September 11 community will alway be here. You understand [the museum’s] dilemma but I think there could have been some provisions for family. I think the museum acted too hastily,” she said.

“For the past 10 weeks we have seen so much destruction in the city and COVID pandemic didn’t apply so why should it have applied to the museum and the memorial? If people were allowed to ransack the city and our mayor stood by and let it happen why wouldn’t we allowed to honor our heroes. It’s a travesty,” she said, referring to looting that happened around the George Floyd protests.

Queens resident Marie Reilly, whose nephew Charles Francis Xavier Heeran who worked in the North Tower for Cantor Fitzgerald, explained why a live reading of the victims’ names is so meaningful.

“To me it’s personal when people call names out and speak about it. The pre-recording isn’t the same,” she said.

A crowd later applauded Pence as he visited firefighters at FDNY Ten House across from the World Trade Center site. The fire station lost five of its members in the attacks.