FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Contact: Meredith Kelly
September 20, 2012 202. 224.7433
SCHUMER, AS CHAIRMAN OF JOINT CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE ON INAUGURAL CEREMONIES, LAUNCHES CONSTRUCTION OF 2013 INAUGURAL PLATFORM AT FIRST NAIL CEREMONY
Traditional First Nail Ceremony Marks Kick-Off For 2013 Presidential Inauguration
Schumer Honors Ground Zero Workers With Hardhat And Hammer At Ceremony
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today launched the construction of the Inaugural platform at the First Nail Ceremony at the United States Capitol. As Chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC), Schumer is responsible for organizing the presidential inaugural ceremonies that will take place at the U.S. Capitol on January 21st of next year. The First Nail Ceremony marks the official kick-off of construction of the Inaugural Platform. During the ceremony, Schumer had a hardhat worn by 9/11 construction worker, Mr. Mark Gajewski, a 9-11 hero who passed away from lung cancer that he may have contracted at the site, and used a hammer that belongs to Mr. Michael Berlingo, Westchester resident and union member of the NYC District Council of Carpenters who is currently working at 1 World Trade Center.
“Equipped with items used by two of our nation’s bravest heroes, I was proud to kick off the construction of the Presidential Inaugural Platform today with the First Nail Ceremony,” said Schumer. “The First Nail Ceremony marks the symbolic transition of linking our nation’s past to our nation’s future. Mr. Gajewski’s hard hat, from our nation’s past, and Mr. Berlingo’s hammer, signifying the future of the World Trade Center site, truly represents the pride and unity that encompasses Americans all throughout this great nation.”
The First Nail Ceremony occurs every four years to mark the official launch of construction of the Inaugural platform where the President of the United States will take the oath of office. The 57th Presidential Inauguration will occur on Monday, January 21, 2013. When the platform is completed, it will hold approximately 1,600 Inaugural guests including Members of the U.S. Senate, House of Representatives, Cabinet Members, Justices of the Supreme Court, former Presidents and the President and Vice President and their families. The ceremony takes place at the United States Capitol and involves members of the Joint Committee.
Schumer, alongside other Members of the Joint Committee and the Architect of the Capitol, today hammered nails into a plank at the side of the future Inaugural platform. At the ceremony, Schumer used the hardhat of Mark Gajewski, a construction worker from Long Island who risked his life on 9/11 and later passed away of lung cancer from his efforts during the site cleanup. Mr. Gajewski was a Marine and member of the Operational Engineers Local 30 who rushed to the towers after they fell and spent months onsite sorting through and cleaning up the wreckage.
Schumer also used a hammer that belongs to Michael Berlingo, a Westchester resident and carpenter currently working on 1 World Trade Center. Michael Berlingo is a former Marine Sergeant in the sniper division and later became a carpenter with the New York City District Council of Carpenters. He has worked as a carpenter foreman on Tower 1 of the World Trade Center for the last five years, and his hammer has been at the site from cleanup at Ground Zero to placing the roof of the new Freedom tower.