- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 16, 2001

Similar scenes played out on stages all across the grim face of a mourning nation yesterday: Americans pouring into churches, mosques and synagogues, seeking comfort and direction.
"What do I talk about?" the Rev. Errol Stoddart asked hundreds of parishioners in a Gaithersburg church. "Should I preach about the building imploding — the scene all of you have seen played over and over like a bad tape you can't turn off? How did it come to this?"
Around the region and around the nation, Americans lit candles to reflect their sorrow and solidarity. They sang songs of solace to ease the ache of broken hearts. And they jammed houses of prayer, searching for meaning and healing in the aftermath of Tuesday's fiery crashes.
On Friday night, candles lit the Lincoln Memorial, lined Connecticut Avenue, brightened windows in Adams Morgan and flickered in the cool fall breeze on a hill overlooking the wreckage at the Pentagon.
"I grieve," said one mourner at the Lincoln Memorial.
"I didn't know what else to do," said another. "I must show my support."
On Saturday morning, April Young sobbed in a pew at the New Life Seventh Day Adventist Church in Gaithersburg. Her sister Linda, 37, was an administrative assistant for the Army. She disappeared in the smoke and flames at the Pentagon on Tuesday morning.
"Some of us saw our families miraculously delivered," Mr. Stoddart said. "On the other hand, there are those whose family members are still unaccounted for. We wonder with those who wonder. Everyone is involved. This thing is just cutting to the heart."
Jawuana Lindsey, Linda Young's niece, attended the service with the rest of the family to mourn and hope.
"It's been very supportive here," she said. "We're healing together."
In Alexandria, congregants at the Calvary Road Baptist Church participated in a joint service with two New York churches hooked up by satellite with churches across the country.
The Rev. Carl Keys of the Glad Tidings Tabernacle in New York City told a national audience he was nearby when the twin towers of the World Trade Center started to crumble. He directed hundreds into the church, he said in the broadcast.
Since then, he's been living the tragedy around the clock. He's slept less than four hours, he said, and has maxed out his credit card buying food, copy machines, clothing and even boots for the rescue workers, volunteers and the victims.
"I will never be able to erase this from my mind," he said. "This is a desperate situation. But we didn't have a choice."
At the Pentagon yesterday, four days after the attack, retired Navy Chaplain Arthur Slagle continued offering words of encouragement to emergency personnel on the scene.
"People don't want to leave," he said.
Others in Washington and New York said the week of death and destruction has taken its toll on rescue workers.
"Everyone has an obligation they feel in their hearts to do something," said Dr. Bernadine Healy, president and chief executive of the American Red Cross. She said her volunteers expressed regrets that they couldn't do more.
Dr. Healy returned to Washington after surveying the scene in New York late last week. She described the scene at the New York Armory, where families of the missing drop off toothbrushes and T-shirts so authorities can start DNA identifications.
There, she met a woman searching for her 22-year-old daughter, a recent graduate of Amherst College, a new employee of the World Trade Center. The mother, animated, described her daughter to Ms. Healy, who told the woman that she also has a 22-year-old daughter.
"She sobbed," Ms. Healy recalled. "I could not bear her suffering. We embraced. Then I did what every doctor is trained not to do. I cried with her. I have never seen such agony. She represented everything about this hideous tragedy."

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