The following are Mayor Bloomberg's remarks as prepared for delivery this morning.
“Thank you, Tom, and good morning. It’s an honor to be part of this ceremony – and to have President Bill Clinton and Governor Andrew Cuomo join us. Thank you both.
“Today, we dedicate this park to New York’s single greatest contribution to the preservation of our republic, and the peace of our world, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It will stand forever as a monument to the man who brought us through the Great Depression and brought us victory over great evil.
“And it will stand forever as a monument to the inspired principles that guided him and that still animate our national purpose. The Four Freedoms celebrated here are much more than a symbol of a past most of us do not remember – they form a challenge to the present that is ours to shape.
“Because so long as extremists continue to engage in terrorist acts – so long as bigotry leads people to hide their true selves or deny their true ambitions – we must continue to seek freedom from fear everywhere in the world.
“So long as poverty keeps families from buying food and medicine, we must continue to seek freedom from want everywhere the world. So long as religious believers are persecuted, or attacked for building congregations in their own communities, we must continue to seek freedom of worship everywhere in the world.
“And so long as artists and activists, publishers and politicians, are silenced or censored, we must continue to seek freedom of expression everywhere in the world. It is my hope that all those who visit this new park will be inspired to take up the challenge President Roosevelt left for us of securing, and protecting, these Four Freedoms.
“It is a mission that lies at the heart of our city’s history. From our earliest days, New York has been built by those who fought to defend and extend our freedoms. This beautiful, graceful, and peaceful memorial and park honors their legacy, too. It reflects the values and aspirations of our city and our country.
“And there is no more fitting home for it than here in the shadow of the United Nations FDR conceived. A stone’s throw from the Navy Yard he once oversaw on an island that once housed the poor he protected and the infirm whose pain he understood looking out at the sea he loved and the city he did so much to build.
“This park is destined to be a national treasure. Louis Kahn’s inspired design – and Ambassador vanden Heuvel determined leadership – made it possible. And thanks to your generous support, and the support of the city, state and federal governments, it has come to life in spectacular fashion.
“This park will make Roosevelt Island a destination for millions of New Yorkers and our visitors and its opening signals the beginning of a new era for the island. The applied science and engineering campus that will rise just north of where we stand today will, in its own way, honor FDR’s vision of the future.
“In November 1944, with World War II still raging, President Roosevelt wrote that the scientific advances made during the war years ‘should be used in the days of peace ahead for the improvement of the national health, the creation of new enterprises bringing new jobs and the betterment of the national standard of living. New frontiers of the mind are before us, and if they are pioneered with the same vision, boldness and drive with which we have waged this war, we can create a fuller and more fruitful employment and a fuller and more fruitful life.’
“FDR understood that science could be harnessed not only to win the war, but to achieve our true objective: securing the Four Freedoms everywhere in the world. This park and this monument will provide a serene, inspiring place for a new generation of citizens and scientists who, together, can allow us to fulfill FDR’s great – and achievable – vision.
“Now, it is my pleasure to introduce Staten Island’s world-famous P.S. 22 Chorus. They’ve performed on national television, with many of the world’s biggest stars, but I hope this occasion will be one that they’ll tell their children and grandchildren about someday.”