- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 12, 2007

President Bush was one of many government officials and ordinary citizens who participated yesterday in events across the region honoring victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks, including a wreath-laying ceremony at the Pentagon where 184 persons were killed.
Photo Gallery:Remembering 9/11

Mr. Bush was joined on the South Lawn of the White House by his wife, Laura, Vice President Dick Cheney, Cabinet members and White House employees to observe a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m. — the exact time six years earlier when terrorists slammed the first of two jetliners into the World Trade Center in New York.

Mr. Bush stood silently as the Marine band, stationed behind him on the South Portico of the White House, played “God Bless America.” Mrs. Bush then took his arm, and they walked inside along with Mr. Cheney, who was accompanied by his wife, Lynne.

Most of the other events in the region began at 9:37 a.m., the time that the third plane, American Airlines Flight 77, crashed into the west side of the Pentagon.

Family members of the 184 victims of the Pentagon attack attended a wreath-laying ceremony there in a warm drizzle.

The private event also included a moment of silence and speeches honoring the victims and military members who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Peter Pace and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates were among those who spoke.

Mr. Gates told the roughly 150 family members that the military would continue to pursue and defeat its enemies, especially terrorist groups, including al Qaeda, which carried out the 2001 attacks that killed 2,974 persons.

“Today the entire nation joins with you,” he said. “You have never been and never will be alone in your sorrow.”

Mr. Gates and Gen. Pace laid the wreath at the site of the attack, where a building stone charred by the fiery plane crash has been engraved with the date and reset into the renovated structure.

“We cannot touch our loved ones today,” Gen. Pace said, his voice choking with emotion. “Therefore, we ask God to hug them for us, that they might know that we love them and we miss them and we’ll serve this nation in their honor.”

In a ceremony at the Arlington County Justice Center, about a mile from the Pentagon, elected officials, police and firefighters took turns ringing a large bell 184 times.

“It’s profound to think that each time that bell struck is like the life of an innocent victim,” said Rep. James P. Moran, Virginia Democrat. “I would hope it would generate even more resolve so it is not repeated in the future.”

County Deputy Sheriff Paul Y. Lee sang “America the Beautiful.”

County Board Chairman Paul Ferguson solemnly reminded more than 200 in attendance: “This is in remembrance of the people who lost their lives.”

Also yesterday, a prayer vigil was held at the Washington National Cathedral in Northwest. Alexandria officials planned a memorial event last night to commemorate those killed in the attacks. Montgomery County hosted an evening concert in the amphitheater of Cabin John Regional Park as a tribute to the 11 county residents killed in the attacks. The concert featured the U.S. Navy Commodores jazz ensemble.

n This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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