Obama pays respects at ground zero, meets 9/11 families, responders

NEW YORK -- Days after the death of Osama bin Laden, President Barack Obama has paid a somber visit to the place where al-Qaida inflicted its greatest damage.

The president silently placed a wreath at the outdoor memorial where the World Trade Center once stood, then met privately with about 60 relatives of those killed on Sept. 11, 2001.

On the way to ground zero, the president visited with firefighters and police officers who responded to the terror attacks.

He stopped at a firehouse that lost 15 firefighters on 9/11, calling it "a symbolic site of the extraordinary sacrifice that was made on that terrible day."

Without mentioning bin Laden by name, Obama told the firefighters that he hoped the military's success brought them "some comfort." He thanked them for their daily work and told them their president has "got your back."

Obama also stopped by the First Precinct police station in lower Manhattan.

Outside Washington, meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden took part in a similar wreath-laying at the Pentagon.

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