Commentary Magazine


Did Obama “Snub” 9/11 Families?

He placed a wreath at Ground Zero, met with 9/11 firefighters, and vowed that “when we say ‘we will never forget,’ we mean what we say.” But it seems like the president did overlook one detail—putting names on the invitations to 9/11 families.

The administration apparently sent out form-letter invitations to 50 hand-picked relatives of 9/11 victims, which began “Dear 9/11 family member.” At least one family has turned down the request, saying that they felt the letter was impersonal.

“If this form letter was the invitation, it was kinda lame,” said John Vigiano, who lost two heroic sons—one a firefighter and the other a police officer—in the attack. “I’m honored the president of the United States is coming to New York,” he said. “[But] to me it’s just going to be a photo op.”

The form-letter does seem a bit lame, especially since the family members were chosen beforehand. It shouldn’t have been difficult for the White House to type out 50 names on stationary. This isn’t something that will dampen the good-will New Yorkers have toward Obama, but it is an unfortunate mistake. It’s the first time Obama has been to pay his respects at Ground Zero since taking office, and this flub does make him come off as detached.