Transcript for NYC Marks the Dedication of the 9/11 Museum
This is a special. More than a decade and two wars after the attacks for which it is named the national September 11 memorial museum. We'll be dedicated today in lower Manhattan downtown New York City I'm Michelle Franzen in New York. ABC news digital special report -- 9/11 memorial museum dedication. President Obama who spent the night in New York has been on site goes to good morning. He will be the featured speaker. During this morning ceremonies after taking a tour of the museum the museum itself opens to the public next week on May 21 it opens today. Families victims' families and first responders. Visitors will then enter enter on the ground level will be transported some seven stories below ground to begin the journey. Passing by actual reserve staircases the survivors staircases. Hundreds of World Trade Center employees -- -- safety that September morning. Early reviews of the collection call -- haunting difficult to stomach. The walls flooring walls past plastered with the missing persons posters called for the city in the hours and days. After the Twin Towers fell. Fragments of the hijacked planes are -- on display. Along with the fire engine with its cab stripped clean by falling debris that fits on display. 19 elevenths widow of Charles Wolf since -- -- dedication brings it all back brings up every day he said. Also on the ground this morning former New York City mayor Michael. Bloomberg whose administration largely oversaw the development of -- 700 million dollar court yard. And museum project. Earlier this morning he gave a tour -- the site to the Obama's. Along with former President Bill Clinton and former secretary of state. Hillary Clinton -- wanna go down to the ceremony underway in lower Manhattan the young people scores of New York City provided the music and an honor guard featuring a member of the fire and police departments. Along with the Port Authority police units for each were among the first responders. It took some of the greatest losses them. We want to take you now to ABC news network coverage of president Obama's remarks. Ex special group and the dedication of the national September 11 memorial you. Now reports. George Stephanopoulos. Good morning we are coming on the air right now because President Obama is about to speak at the dedication ceremony for the September 11 memorial museum in New York City. The museum opens today for relatives of victims first responders and for those who have worked the site since the World Trade Center attacks. -- -- President Obama there along with president Clinton's Secretary Clinton. Former New York City Mike Bloomberg who worked so hard to get through this museum off the ground. They're looking at photos of the victims there. And this museum will open -- the public on May 21 its mission. To bear witness to honor the victims the survivors. And all those who risked their lives to save others. In the words of the poet Virgil inscribed in the memorial no -- -- erase you from the memory of time. In just a moment the ceremony will begin -- -- -- seven stories below ground housing more than 101000 artifacts both intimate and -- Like that symbolic last column 36 feet high. Covered with -- mementos messages. Those posters of the missing placed by rescue personnel. It was removed when the recovery effort -- -- at ground zero in 2002 brought to museum site in 2009 draped in an American flag escorted by an honor guard. If you did -- joins us now from ground -- and David you had a chance to tour the museum experience its emotional impact firsthand. This is really something -- I mentioned to you in our coverage of this over the last 24 hours that I wanted to show our viewers at home where we are this morning are -- High above the World Trade Center here you can see one of the giant and beautiful reflecting pools and the footprints of where the Twin Towers once stood and that's the museum that's the building right there. Behind me and as George mentioned we were given a tour. Before the president's visit and I wanted to show you something inside that really struck -- the moment we sought these are called. The survivor stairs and this was actually a stairwell from the plaza of the Twin Towers so that when. People have escaped the Twin Towers that we use these stairs to get down to street level. Hundreds of people use these stairs to save their lives and they were one of the first things actually stated that they were placed on the site here where the museum is first and in the rest of the museum was actually. Built around the stairs you could see where they're actually -- At the bottom of the stairwell it's it's really something to see. They have saved so much here there's a bicycle -- The workers riding their bikes to work that morning and one of the things I couldn't help but to notice that qualified them in the museum but dust still on them helmet. Hanging from one of those bicycles. And just moments before the ceremony began here this morning the president the First Lady as they walked through this museum. Stopping at what's called big red and we got a chance to see that -- -- from latter three. And then of course was the truck that carried. Captain -- brown and his men. They were up in one of those towers and as you. We're called George he was the one who made the call the -- saying we're going up they were already on the 35 floor it's believed. That they need another 45 floors higher. They lost eleven men. From that company but that truck sits in the museum. To bear witness to that today and what of the things source that was really struck by in walking through the museum. You hear right when you walk in the voices of everyday Americans from every corner of this country remembering where they were that morning. When they first heard the news when they turned on that television. And this museum honors those memories -- honors those who were lost. And it honors those first responders who did arrive here bravely and who did -- so many people that -- So many heroes that -- President Obama. Going on -- them in a moment as well wanna say the ceremony. Right now where President Obama will speak. There is mayor Michael Bloomberg former mayor of New York City push so hard to get this museum -- even donated. Part of his personal fortune let's listen to him is he introducing -- Courage and compassion that save lives and lifted spirits. The outstretched hands that rushed forward that day and on the hard weeks and months that followed. In the streets of New York. On the grounds of the Pentagon. In the fields near Shanksville Pennsylvania. From all across America and the world kindness for its fourth on a colossal scale. Four on a day when terrorists refused to see our common humanity. We saw only the humanity in one another. This is AM. Built on the side of rubble and ruins it. Is now filled with the faces. The stories and the memories of our common grief and our common hope. It is a witness to tragedy. It is an affirmation of human life. It is a reminder to us and to all future generations. That freedom carries heavy responsibilities. And it is reflection of our belief that the true hope of humanity resides and our compassion. And kindness for one another. Walking through this museum can be difficult at times. But it is impossible to leave without feeling inspired. Each story here it beats with a human heart which if we allow taxes are wrong. The stories other proof that what we do. And the choices we make affect each other's lives and the course of human history. This morning. We'd like to share just a few of these stories the museum tells. Ladies and gentlemen. It is my honor to introduce the president of the United States of America Barack Obama. Mayor Bloomberg. Governor Cuomo. Honored guests. Families of the fallen. In those awful moments. After the south tower was hit. Some of the injured huddled. In the wreckage. The 78 floor. The fires were spreading. The air was filled with smoke. We'll start. I could barely see. It seemed. As if there was no way out. And then there came -- Boortz. Clear. Call. Saying he had found that the stairs. A young man. In his twenties. Strong. Emerge from the smoke and over his nose in his mouth he wore red handkerchief. He called for fire extinguishers to fight back the flights. -- -- To the wounded. He led those survivors. Down the stairs to safety. And carried a woman on his shoulders. Down seventeen flights. Many went back. Back up all those flights than back down again. Bringing more wounded to safety. Until that moment. When the tower fell. They didn't know his -- That -- no word came from. But they moon lose their lives have been saved. The man in the red -- that. Again Mayor Bloomberg. Distinguished guests -- to -- It was Christie and Cuomo. And families. And survivors of that day. It's all those who responded it was such courage. On behalf of Michelle and myself and the American people. It is honor trust. Join. In your memories. -- call -- to reflect. But above all to reaffirm the true spirit. Of 9/11. Compassion. Sacrifice. And to enshrine its. Forever in the heart of our nation. Michelle and I just have -- turn to join -- Others along. The visit it was some of the survivors. And families. Men and women who inspire -- all. And we had a chance to visit some of the exhibits. And I think all. Who come here will find that. It to be a profound. And moving experience. I want express our deep gratitude to everybody. Who was involved in this great undertake. For bringing us to this day. For giving us the sacred place. -- and of hope. Here at this memorial. This museum. We come together. We stand in the footprints of two mighty towers. Graced by the rush. Of internal waters. We look into the faces nearly 3000. Innocent souls. Men and women and children of every race every creed. From every corner of the world. We can touch their names. And hear their voices. Glimpse the small items that speak to the beauty of their lives. A wedding ring. -- -- -- The shining badge. Here. We tell their story. So that generations yet unborn will never. Forget. But coworkers who led. Others to safety the passengers who stormed the cockpit. Our men and women in uniform who rushed into an inferno. The first responders who charged up those stairs. A generation of service members are 9/11 generation. -- served with honor and more than a decade of war. A nation that stands tall. And united. And unafraid. Because no act of terror to match the strength. The character. Of our country. But the great wall and bedrock that embraces today. Nothing. Can ever break. Us. Nothing. Can change who we are. As Americans. On that September morning. -- -- -- -- -- -- Months later. She was reading the newspaper. An article about those final minutes. In the towers. Survivors were -- how a young man wearing a red handkerchief. That led them to safety. And in that moment. -- -- Ever since he was -- -- her son had always carried. A red handkerchief. For some wells was the man. And the red -- Wells. Was just 24 years old. -- a broad smile on a bright future. He worked in the south tower. Moment -- and fourth floor. Get a big laugh. The joy of life. -- dreams saying the world. -- worked in finance but it also been a volunteer firefighter. And after the planes hit he put on that bandanna and spent his final moments. Saving others. Three years ago this month. After our seals made sure that justice was done. I came to ground zero. Among the families. -- that day was -- problem. And she told me about -- And his fearless spirit. And she showed -- a handkerchief like the 1 he wore that morning. Today as we saw -- war. One of his red handkerchiefs. Is on display. In this museum -- from this day forward. All those who come here. We'll have a chance to know the sacrifice of a young man who like so many and gave his life. So others might -- Those we lost. And live on them and us. In the family's. Who love them still. In the friends. Who remember them always. And in a nation. That won't honor them. Now and forever. Today it is my honor to introduce two women forever bound by that day. United in their determination to keep alive the true spirit of 9/11. Well -- his mother Alison. And one of those who saved. Coming up. You can -- it. My name missing you know I'm here today because so -- -- demand that -- -- -- a chance to thank. It was a very hot for me to come here today. I don't want it to -- -- scientists say thank you so he's panning. And my new friend Jeff and Alison. -- I am -- -- mother. Alison crowd there. My husband Jefferson. And I could not be more proud that they -- son. For us he lives on. In the people he helped. And in the memory of what he chose to do that Tuesday. In September. Wells believes that we are all connected. As one human family. That we are here to look out for -- and to care for one another. This is life's most precious meaning. It is our greatest hope that when people come here. And -- -- -- red Bandana. They will remember how people helped each other that day. And we hope that they will be inspired to do the same. In ways both big. And small. This is the true legacy of September 11. An emotional moment there at the dedication of the national 9/11 museum remembering was -- her hero and a victim of that day 24. Years old he saved Ling young. Went back up the stairs and saved two other victims that day the president talking about him in his speech his mother there as well on one when he saved. Celine Dion -- -- would Jonathan Karl. And John the president somber today honoring those -- says it's time to reaffirm what he called the true spirit. 9/11. Love compassion and sacrifice and says that this is a monument. For generations perhaps who weren't doing -- so many Americans -- a long time ago now thirteen years ago so many Americans not even born. At that time when this happened pres Obama simply a state senator. It's incredible to think he was of virtually unknown state senator. He was driving to work that morning when he heard on the news in Chicago that the first tower and then had assumed it was a small plane like so many of us. Body stories like slick so many other regular Americans say -- he. -- what it was clear it was a terrorist attack he went home -- youngest daughter was just three months old Sasha Malia was just three years old. -- home -- intended to his family and you know ten years later he's the president. As a Sama bin Laden -- was ordering the attack kills on its own blog prosecuting the war against al-Qaeda still today as well okay Jon Karl thanks very much. We are turning now to regular program you can watch the rest the ceremony on our website at abcnews.com. -- -- we'll have much more later on world news and for many in the West Coast now Good Morning America we'll come back. Have a good. This has been a special report. From BBC news. He. Hello I'm Michelle Franzen in New York you're watching continuing coverage of today's dedication of the national September 11 memorial museum in New York City. Speaking now New York governor Andrew Cuomo let's listen what that. Point. Strangers. All bound for San Francisco. They would decide to take -- into their own hands. At the probable. If not certain risk of their own lives. When the hijackers took control of airplane. People began calling -- and friends who told them about the other hijacked planes. None of the passengers had been trained for this kind of scenario let alone even consent considered such a nightmare. And yet. After talking over what they had learned they joined with members of the crew to storm the cockpit. And in doing so. They change the course of history. It was later shown that their actions prevented the plane from reaching the hijackers intended target. Washington DC. A mere twenty minutes away. In giving their lives. How many lives had they saved. One of the first calls made from the plane. I've been for Mark Bingham. Who later helped form the plan they followed. He had called his mother Alice. And allies later left him this message. When. Lauren and your mom every human -- and an -- hell bent crash the air ground -- There's one going in name and headed toward can't go live -- -- worry. He can't certainly -- -- perhaps lose everything he can't overpowering them. Try to rewriting all right meaning and can you. Black -- yeah. Good morning. When you walk through this museum. What strikes you -- how your emotions can feel -- at one moment. And the very next moment you feel utterly astonished and grateful. At how people from all over the world responded. Was -- if the entire world came knocking on our -- -- with us. And asked what they could do. People from over ninety countries. Died on September 11 and so. The world understood. That while this happened on our soil. It happened to all of us. Letters -- from Australia and Jordan gifts from India. Ireland and Kenya. And people from all walks of life. -- speaking every language. Came to help us dig out from under. And -- our wounds. The world's felt like a tightly knit community. A smaller. More caring place. This. Is how good will begins. In the understanding that we are underneath all are many differences. Fellow men and women. -- they -- And -- sanctity. For human life. Here in this museum. We are reminded to pause and remember. How many came to help us. And that the -- gift of friendship and fellowship. Can be born. Out of the night. For which we all remain. Eternally grateful. I dedicate this song. To my late husband. Calvin Joseph a good thing. Hey easy. Okay. -- Man. It's. -- -- -- -- And as -- Have seen. EU. Through. As the -- case. -- -- To move he he had. And marrying. My. He. Chicago. Everyday. Man. Yeah yeah. He yeah. -- -- -- I need. -- Man -- there. Okay next. Yeah. The. -- -- I mean. My name is Clarence Jones. I went to work on September 11. I did not plan on walking down 77 flights of stairs that wasn't test for it. Nor did I expect my boss to have to carry my shoes. I was one of the last of the tiny type people to come out of the south tower. My -- -- is eighteen. I'm taking my shoes -- on the sixtieth floor and I walked in my stockings. The rest of the way. After that I still walked in my stocking feet fifty more blocks to get to a friend's office. Barely in one piece. When I heard that the museum was looking five attacks I thought about my Hughes. -- put him in a plastic container. And when I took them out they still had the -- on them from that awful day. And I knew I would never Wear them again. So -- decided to donate -- here. I wanted my needs this. And my nephew. And every person it then ask what happened to see them. The -- understand a little bit better. What it felt like to be us on that day. A simple pair of shoes. What could they possibly tell us about 9/11. About the choices and close calls. About a quarter mile climb down a staircase. Filled with falling ceilings. Crowded with colleagues and confusion. About making it -- -- or not. Ordinary every -- -- objects that we find here in the museum. A -- A ring and ID cards the telephone. Are unlikely but powerful -- -- Which help us understand the events of that day in human terms. Each piece carries -- another story. One that might have been our own. For don't we all own a pair of shoes we Wear to work. That could have been the ones we wore that day. For some the last 38 steps they walked to freedom and to life. We're down a narrow and outdoor staircase. That led to be easy street. These stairs. Were also the last above the ground -- remnants found at the World Trade Center site. They became both a symbol of that terrible day -- and the months. Of painstaking recovery. Workers remove the 56 tons staircase from its concrete base. As carefully. As one would be a sacred objects from an archaeological site. So that could be placed in its new home inside that museum. Today. When you walk down the museum's last set of stairs that lead to bedrock. When you walked slowly down the wide and -- terrorism. Or stand comfortably on the moving escalator. You will travel right beside. The DC street staircase. And as you do. Imagine for a moment that. These hard concrete stairs were once. For hundreds of people. The last. And long sought path. To survival. My name -- Kayla Bergeron. I worked in the north tower for four years. That day. Everyone -- -- floor. People who knew each other. And who didn't. Started walking down 68 flights of stairs together. He was orderly. And calm. And for every step we took down. The firefighters and police were climbing up. When we got to the sixth floor. It felt the whole world has felt as if the whole world soared to shake. He turned out that the -- -- collapsed. Suddenly there was confusion. We were climbing over wires and desk. Port Authority policeman. Helped us find our way through. My friend -- and I got separated from every one. And we're along thinking. There's no way out. Then we heard a bullhorn. Said that. If the -- the sound file all the light. We went this way. And that way. And after what seemed like forever. We got to the outdoor -- staircase. It's not what the stairs a hundred times. Go to the trained. Stop at the post office. Never given him a second thought. But now. They were all that separated us. From the devastation behind us. And life in front of us. Today when I think about those stairs. What they represent to me. Is resiliency. Of the people -- that day. Trying to help each other. And later the resiliency of our country. Those 38 steps. Mean everything. We will never understand why one person escaped. And another didn't. How random brutal scenes. And how -- Makes us all feel. But what this museum does is allow us to see. -- that we absolutely can affect each other's lives. By what we do at a time of crisis. How we have strengthened. By what was done that day. September 11 brought out the largest emergency response in New York City history. 1000 firefighters. 2000 police offices. And 100 -- volunteer ambulances. Rushed into action. When both towers fell but logic says no one could have survived. And lived to tell the tale. The south tower fell. And no one. Survived. In the meantime. The men from the New York City Fire Department. And Port Authority police were still inside the north tower. Attempting to rescue the remaining civilians. But when they reached the third floor -- a 107 floors of the north tower fell on top of them. Lieutenant making cross remembered. That he heard a huge roar and then everything went dark. And totally silent. Buried in debris. He tried to protect himself. By make himself so small that he might be able to climb into his helmet. When he heard faint voices calling out he realized. He wasn't alone. He sent mayday signals hoping someone might hear them. -- this past. Who outside there was nothing but piles of fiery wreckage. Not only could rescue is not locate the north tower. They didn't even know where to begin. And yet. They kept digging. And digging. And -- It's my honor. To introduce you. To make it crossed. An eleven members of the New York City Fire Department. And Port Authority police department. All of them it had been trapped. Together. God bless them and god bless America. We were trapped went down inside a dark hole. And after awhile we see -- the small beam of light about thirty feet above us. In the sunlight. And had broken through the smoke he didn't though it only lasted for a little while it was enough to let us know -- was an opening. The turned it turned out to rescue workers could -- -- too. We finally came towards us they couldn't believe we get supply and we walk out on room. The continue to look for the survivors. -- in fourteen of his trapped in the stairwell. Trying to stay alive. And searching for a way out. Miraculously. We supply. Once we got out -- -- a complete devastation. The -- traits and was gone. What you can see we huge pieces of twisted steel -- flies everywhere. And work is never giving up on finding people. -- -- rescue. Many of -- you won't. The rescue and recovery -- at ground zero to do for all of this what had been done for us. We had to. We -- come together at ground zero to help each other -- He was a real sense of caring for one another. This is something we should never forget. And never stop doing thank you. I am and you like gears. And I am among both teams is local -- -- to. What -- grounds alone every construction. For nine months. My name is -- Hoffman. -- -- crane operator and I worked at ground zero for eight months. My name is Tony tomorrow. I'm a detective in the new York city police department emergency server issue that I worked at ground zero for nine months. My name is Steve Butler -- lieutenant with the Port Authority -- emergency service unit. I work down at ground zero for nine months the Foreman rescue and recovery. Have to learning. Losing my brother Tommy. A firefighter with squad company number one I was the first person to put his part his picture. On this piece of steel. With equal -- last column. After that many others followed -- pitches. And -- signatures. The last column was caught -- last -- that was searched. It really tells the true story is the building the destruction -- missing -- preferred. As the site was cleared and and the beams came to stand -- people know working at the site. Or family members began a sixteen photos. Everybody is but both saying he's notes on a column we had to play -- atop a bit anyways seeing. -- -- The sheer size of it. And the number of signatures. Farewells not only to -- slow ones. But also to this new family that developed. Ground zero. We've all became this family they've worked together to try to make all the families feel better. We would never going to -- -- a hole but -- -- a little smaller than that that was all we could do. What is the common expect congress to lunch -- completed -- job and we did show will look. Or risk being symbolizes -- -- humanity you can do. Of all the heartbreaking. Things we had to learn how to do after September 11. The most necessary. Was. And the most difficult. Was finding a way to honor every single person. Who was almost -- planes. In the Pentagon or the World Trade Center towers. And those who died. Trying to save. To give their families. And us. A place to come. And remember them. Now near where we are now. There is such a place. Filled with the photos. Keepsakes and stories. Of those we lost. These are -- our book of memories. In the area called memorial hall. -- stands a three story high wall connecting the footprints of the once mighty north and south towers. On -- are written ten simple words. By the great poet Virgil buttocks pressed what this museum. Is all about. No day. Celebrates -- From the memory. Of time. From there and you walk through to the -- -- faces. Mind from floor to ceiling with smiling fathers and daughters Brothers nieces and family. And loved ones in. In the same way we have photos and our own homes in these pictures are alive. With the memories of the birthdays and weddings barbecues and baseball games. Of those we lost. What you believe what you will be looking. Are the pages of the chapters in our history as we call -- There's a lesson. It's. It's. You'll be surprised -- your daughter. Just reason just like you. The Jones case this. -- keep its. It's. This news this was a couple weeks before 9/11 actually happened -- -- -- thing. I -- this movie here. So it's judicious comments that must. I just like -- And I didn't manage prisons everything's chance thank -- -- You look like -- -- -- -- -- anyway. -- Being used to. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- She never. -- -- -- She was fifteen. And we should she -- -- she. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- analogy yeah. And when he heard across on the -- NATO has partners we had a column and he just ran upstairs and you just helped cap. He was straight to those buildings. And you do we -- zone you have to help people. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Now that I was shortened to plan and I think I learned that my -- days. -- -- -- Yeah yeah. Some conference. -- tax -- Doctor EU and he knew them iron out its. -- in their -- -- yeah yeah yeah. And I am and schools can -- It's not go to Christie's and means. This is a place where thousands of stories converge. -- we can touch the face of history. Our history. And yet while we come here to remember the past. It is the future to that stands with -- us in this hall. To truly -- that day. We must promised both to keep our memories of it alive. And to search for ways to build something positive. In the names of those we lost. There were the pride of their families. And the pride of their countries. This story it's their spirit. And there are examples from the bond. As our guides and are beacons. By making their names and airlines. Stand for something meaningful in our world. What greater legacy can there be for the lives cut short. And to live in the good works created. In their names. My name is -- -- -- aerial adults. And my sister Wendy worked in tower one of the World Trade Center. I worked two blocks away as the principal of -- high school that encouraged to leadership and public service. That morning it was my job to protect our 600 plus -- But I couldn't protect my sister. My whole life has been about educating children. After -- died I was with friends and said. We went to Afghanistan. And we built the school there are. -- kick in the head to Osama bin lot. -- dollar tin and countless others joined forces and four years after 9/11. School was opened in my sister's memory in the province of -- -- Afghanistan. About 200 boys and girls came to study. And since then many many more all of them and trusted with education. And their country's future. -- ten -- beauty out of the -- It's hard work but it can be done. My name is Jim late yet. My younger brother dean was at his desk in the Pentagon that September 11 he was a civilian working for the department of the army. After the attack many wondered. -- we remember those we lost. -- family members. We needed to find a way to honor and remember them. In the process maybe find a way to heal ourselves. Working together with friends colleagues family's supporters from around the world. We opened the Pentagon memorial on September 11 2008. It is a place we remember a 184 men women and children. A place to provide solace in healing surrounded by the beauty of life. My brother Dave and I had been young together and we expected to grow old together. Play a lot of golf and argue about who had a better looking grandchildren. Now there will be children born after 9/11. Who only read about that day and books. Some of them might even think the people -- happened to weren't real. But we are here to help them know that they wore. My hope now is to create an educational center at the Pentagon memorial. Where school children can come. And spend some time getting to know their country story. And very real people who lived. We'd like to end our dedication ceremony on -- Note of hope. That all the -- -- to this museum to those who lived through the tragedy. And those young enough to be learning about it for the first time. We'll come away with a sense not of the worst of humanity. But of the best. There are hard lessons history -- heart history lessons to be learned here. But also shafts of light that can illuminate our days ahead. To all those who have worked so tirelessly to bring this museum and its ideals to life. We owe you our deepest gratitude and appreciation. And special thanks to Joseph Daniels president Alice Greenwald director of the 9/11 memorial museum. In this. -- -- is a testament to the resilience. The courage. And the compassion of the human spirit that lives within each and every human being. So I think it's -- only fitting them that we bring our ceremony to a close with one of Aaron hope ones most enduring. And life affirming pieces. Fanfare for the common man. This has been an ABC news digital coverage of dedication of the national September 11 museum today in New York City. Thank you for joining us I'm Michelle Franzen in New York. -- Okay. Yeah and I -- And.
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