Citing security concerns, New York City's mayor has asked Vice President Dick Cheney not to attend the World Trade Center ceremony marking the second anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he was worried that "increased security measures required for vice presidential travel would have inconvenienced or delayed family members."
Instead, Cheney has been asked to attend an Interfaith Remembrance Service for Port Authority employees who died on Sept. 11.
The vice president's office confirmed Wednesday that Cheney had accepted the invitation to attend the afternoon service honoring the Port Authority, not the morning event at ground zero. He will not be speaking at the event.
"The vice president is going to the ceremony to show the administration's respect and reverence to the people of New York," said Cathie Martin, a spokeswoman for the vice president.
An official with knowledge of the situation told the New York Daily News that Bloomberg didn't want family members of World Trade Center victims to have to endure searches and long waits in line.
White House press secretary Scott McClellan said the vice president will be going to New York to pay tribute to the victims of Sept. 11.
"The vice president looks forward to going to New York tomorrow to represent the administration on the second anniversary of Sept. 11,'' he said. "The last thing we want to do is be disruptive of any remembrance ceremony that is occurring."
President Bush won't be traveling to the city at all on Sept. 11 – a decision that has riled some New Yorkers. Instead, the president will remain in Washington where he'll take part in a series of deliberately sober, low-key appearances.
After attending a morning prayer service at a nearby church, the president will observe a moment of silence on the South Lawn of the White House at 8:46 a.m., the time the first plane crashed into the trade center. Later, he'll visit with U.S. soldiers recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital from wounds suffered in Iraq.
"This is a day to remember and reflect upon those who lost their lives," McClellan said in explaining why the president's Sept. 11 schedule this year would be much more subdued than last.
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