- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 13, 2001

DOVER, Del. — Remains of some of those killed in the terrorist attack on the Pentagon will be shipped to Dover Air Force Base for processing, military officials said yesterday.
"It looks like we'll be getting the first bunch of casualties from the Pentagon," said Maj. Jon Anderson, a base spokesman. "We were told to expect probably about 100, but there's just no telling."
At the Air Force base, the remains will be positively identified, processed for burial, and shipped to families. As in the past, civilian undertakers have volunteered to help, Maj. Anderson said.
The base mortuary is the largest in the Department of Defense and the only one located in the continental United States.
The mortuary usually can process up to 50 bodies a day. With additional help, the staff can handle up to 100 bodies per day and store up to 1,000.
"We're set up to do this very well, but very fast," Maj. Anderson said.
Over the years, the mortuary has been used in the aftermath of several high-profile tragedies. They include the 1977 crash of two airliners in the Canary Islands, the 1978 mass suicide at the Peoples' Temple cult in Jonestown, Guyana, the 1983 terrorist bombing of Marine headquarters in Beirut, the 1986 crash of the space shuttle Challenger, the 1988 terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, and the attack on the USS Cole last year.
Dover Air Force Base, meanwhile, remained under tight security yesterday. Flight operations were suspended for a second day, and nonessential areas, including the base exchange and commissary, were closed.
State agencies and schools, which closed early on Tuesday, were operating normally yesterday.
At an afternoon mass at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Wilmington, Del., several hundred people filled every pew in the church, some weeping.
In his sermon, Bishop Michael A. Saltarelli encouraged the congregation to pray for the ability to forgive the terrorists, but he acknowledged that he himself was struggling with forgiveness.
Mr. Saltarelli said he had ordered his staff to draft a written statement, which originally included a final line about forgiveness, but said he could not endorse it.
"I could not bring myself to endorse that last sentence," said Mr. Saltarelli, recounting the images he had seen on television.
The final statement did not include the sentence, but ended: "We also pray that the perpetrators of these deeds be brought to justice as we decry this horrible, cowardly outrage on so many of our fellow citizens and our country."
After the statement was issued, however, Mr. Saltarelli said he slowly realized that, no matter how difficult, people should follow the example of Jesus on the cross, who said, "Father forgive them, they know not what they do."
"It's not 100 percent there, I have to confess that," Mr. Saltarelli told the audience.


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