- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 23, 2001

President Bush helped pass the Olympic flame yesterday between two runners touched personally by the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Mr. Bush, bundled against the cold in a black wool overcoat and white cowboy hat, greeted Elizabeth Anderson Howell with a kiss on the cheek after she ran up the White House driveway and handed him a lighted torch. He used the torch to light an Olympic cauldron.
Mrs. Howell's husband, Brady Howell, was killed in the attack on the Pentagon.
The president said her participation in the Olympic torch relay "represents the strength shown by so many families after September 11."
"Liz, our nation prays with you during this holiday season," Mr. Bush said. "We pray for peace and comfort for you and your family."
The president then lit another torch from the cauldron and handed it off to the next runner, George Washington University student Eric Jones. On the day of the attacks, Mr. Jones left campus and rushed to the Pentagon.
Over four days, he helped carry away the wounded and dug a red Marine Corps flag out of the rubble. Mr. Jones then drove to New York City and spent several days helping rescuers there.
"I thank these two torch bearers for their courage and their compassion, for representing the best of our great country," Mr. Bush said.
From Washington, the torch headed to Baltimore, where former Orioles star Cal Ripken Jr. carried it approximately a fifth of a mile through the city's streets.
Mr. Ripken took the flame from his wife, Kelly, who had just covered the same distance on Pratt Street, which runs through the middle of the city.
As Mrs. Ripken lit her husband's torch, Mr. Ripken, dressed in a white jogging suit bearing the Olympic insignia and wearing a loose-fitting white knit hat, then looked at their children and said, "Ready? Let's go."
With that, Mr. Ripken jogged from Pratt onto President Street with daughter Rachel and son Ryan in close pursuit.
Mr. Ripken, who ended his career in October, was one of dozens of people to carry the flame through Maryland as it makes it way to Utah for the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Dean Hoffman, of York, Pa., ran with the flame several hours before Mr. Ripken.
"It's definitely a thrill," Mr. Hoffman said. "It really didn't sink in until I got there, but it's really cool to be a little part of something so big."
The flame was expected to reach Delaware later yesterday and then move to Philadelphia.
By the time it reaches Salt Lake City on Feb. 6, the torch will have covered 13,500 miles in the hands of 11,500 people.

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