Columbia Grad School of Journalism Covers 2008 Service Nation Summit

Photo Credit - Joseph C. Lin Photo Credit - Alexandra Cheney

Welcome to Columbia Graduate School of Journalism's coverage of the 9/11/08 Obama-McCain Presidential Candidate's Forum on the Columbia University Campus.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Families: McCain and Obama, Stay Away

Johnny Bulaga Sr. and his wife Fran got up at 5:30 a.m. to travel from their home in Haskell, N.J. to attend today’s Sept. 11 ceremony near Ground Zero. Their son, John Bulaga Jr., 35, was working as a network engineer for Cantor Fitzgerald when he was killed in the attacks seven years ago.

The Bulagas were glad to hear that presidential candidates Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama were staying away from speaking at the official ceremony. Instead, the candidates will make a joint appearance in the pit after the ceremony concludes.

“There’s enough politics in this whole thing,” Bulaga Sr. said, sweeping his arm toward the crane at the pit. “That’s why it’s taken so long to do anything. I just hope it’s completed in my lifetime.”

This is the last year that families of Sept. 11 victims will be able to visit the pit where the World Trade Centers once stood. The first steel beam that will support the Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum was laid Tuesday, a day after new designs for the long-delayed memorial were unveiled.

“This is the focal point, but I don’t need to be anywhere to remember my son. We have pictures of him everywhere, and he’s right here,” Bulaga Sr. said, tapping his heart.

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