- The Washington Times - Monday, September 17, 2001

Battle stations
"On a lighter note," writes Inside the Beltway reader Kellie Ann Moore, "my New Yorker Grampa Jackson and his World War II buddies are ready for war, manning their couch stations, military hats on their heads, TV remote in hand, making decisive executive decisions without hesitation — just like they used to.
"They are eager to enlist as 'experienced fighting men,' Grampa said. 'The country needs us.' These guys are in their 70s and 80s. One is in a wheelchair and Grampa has an oxygen tank."

Urban war
A Citgo gas station near the Pentagon in Arlington seems an unlikely place to hold a "Special Defense Briefing," but in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on this nation's military command headquarters, that was the location of the post set up last Friday by Maj. Gen. Jim Jackson and Col. Jim Laufenburg, commander of the 3rd United States Infantry (The Old Guard).

One nation
"Let's hope it lasts for an extremely long time."
—Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, when asked in the U.S. Capitol how long congressional unity and bipartisanship will last when Congress inevitably turns to other issues

Root of terrorism
In light of Georgia Republican Rep. Bob Barr's bill to lift the ban on U.S.-sponsored assassinations, and thus eliminate the threat of terrorists such as Osama bin Laden, we thought it a good time to remember the meaning — and ironic origin — of "assassin," as defined in Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary:
"assassin: 1) one of a secret order of Muslims that at the time of the Crusades terrorized Christians and other enemies by secret murder "

When all else fails
With airports shut down around Washington and elsewhere in the nation for much of last week, area hotels welcomed few new guests, yet continued providing shelter to those stranded here in the nation's capital.
In a few instances, reveals Tricia Messerschmitt, director of public relations for the Four Seasons Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue, guests who were fortunate enough to secure rental cars offered rides to complete strangers who also were trying desperately to return home.
"More than 25 guests, most strangers to one another, car-pooled together to New York," she says.
"Some even left their luggage behind so that there would be room enough in the car for one more passenger."
Even more inspiring, she says, Four Seasons staff "made countless round trips to local hospitals delivering our guests who wanted to donate blood.
A doctor who was staying here wanted to offer medical assistance at the Pentagon; he was unable to get there by car, so he rented a bicycle to be where he could be most useful."

Blood relations
With encouraging words of support, Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien led just one of many dozen memorial services held around the world in recent days for victims of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington:
"You have assembled before you, here on Parliament Hill and right across Canada, a people united in outrage, in grief, in compassion and in resolve; a people of every faith and nationality to be found on earth; a people who, as a result of the atrocity committed against the United States on September 11, 2001, feel not only like neighbors, but like family."

Emotional times
For a view from the nation's heartland, Inside the Beltway last week asked Carrie Winter, a retired teacher and mother of three young children living in a suburb of Grand Rapids, Mich., to describe her emotions in the wake of last week's terrorist attacks on the United States.
She agreed, and over the course of several days sent to us these, among other thoughts:
"As a mom, I have been near tears, or in tears at the horror, the magnitude, the vulnerability, and the family impact that, whomever is at fault, caused. In times of crisis, America shines brighter than ever. Freedom does come with a price tag. This tragedy has created an appearance of unity in defending her people."
"The ability to see big pictures is a gift and curse at the same time. I fight the urge to flee, get into survival mode, and create a bubble around my children. But then I would be giving in to the terrorists. The real change has been in my soul, my eyes, and the outlook for our children and children's children."
"My friends and I don't sleep very well anymore. Eating is a big chore — if we can stomach it. I would probably not be cooking at all, if I didn't have small children. The heaviness in my eyes and heart just plain ache. How do we protect our babies?"
"God Bless America, her freedom, the president."

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