- The Washington Times - Friday, October 5, 2001

One of the first jets flying into newly reopened Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport yesterday brought Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman back from a visit to the scene of terrorist devastation in New York.

"We're going to take the precautions necessary" to avoid any similar terrorist attacks, the Connecticut Democrat said aboard the flight.

US Airways Flight 6863 was one of the first to land at Reagan Airport after it was closed due to security reasons in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks that struck the Pentagon and demolished New York's World Trade Center.

New York officials yesterday estimated that the WTC attack will cost the city's economy as much as $105 billion over the next two years.

While the city may limp through this year without major problems, Comptroller Alan Hevesi said billions of dollars in lost revenue will begin causing financial headaches as early as next July.

According to Mr. Hevesi, the trade center's destruction cost $6.7 billion; $12 billion was lost in computers and other office equipment; rebuilding the complex will cost $5.3 billion; and the city's economy will lose $11 billion in spending by the thousands of trade center victims.

Mr. Hevesi also said the city would lose 115,300 jobs this year alone.

After the Sept. 11 attack, Congress appropriated $20 billion to help New York with its recovery. Some of an additional $20 billion authorized for anti-terrorist measures will also end up in New York.

The scene around the WTC yesterday looked like a combination of a military base, a huge building demolition job and a tourist attraction.

Among the passers-by was David Brot, a Westchester, N.Y., resident whose office as a construction general contractor is a short walk away from the WTC. One of his clients is in Leesburg, Va.

"I go to Reagan National all the time," he said. "I was just amazed how accessible the city was from the air."

He has not yet flown to Washington since the attacks but says he probably will soon.

"You have to do it," Mr. Brot said. "You have to get up in the morning, put both feet on the floor and do what you normally do."

The morning of Sept. 11, he heard a huge explosion as he retrieved his car from an underground parking lot nearby.

The explosion was the sound of the first airplane hitting the World Trade Center.

As he exited the parking lot onto the street minutes later, the second plane hit, jolting his car.

One block away, at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, the iron grate fence has been turned into a makeshift display stand for inspirational banners.

One of them features a hand-lettered Bible verse: "And this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." A few feet away, an American flag is draped over the fence.

The banner, like the buildings, sidewalks and relief workers nearby, is coated with a thin film of dust from the cleanup. Many people walking nearby wear air masks or cover their mouths and nostrils with handkerchiefs to avoid inhaling the dust. A charred-ember odor still lingered yesterday for about three miles around the World Trade Center site.

St. Paul's has been turned into a 24-hour rest station for the cleanup crews and police. Greeting cards from schoolchildren nationwide are taped to the church door, each expressing some form of encouragement.

"It really cheers them up," said Sister Grace, an Episcopal nun who stood in the church doorway wearing a gray habit and crucifix.

She said the cleanup crews, who often find bodies or body parts in the debris, are holding up "fairly well." They come to the church for coffee, food or rest.

"Everybody's really pulling together," she said.

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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