- The Washington Times - Friday, September 14, 2001

President George W. Bush has declared today a national day of "prayer and remembrance." He urged all citizens "to pray for our nation, to pray for the families of those who were victimized by this act of terrorism." The president plans to attend memorial services and urged all Americans to do so as well. It would be altogether fitting and proper to do so. We need to give support and receive solace, to remember and to pray.
Mr. Bush has vowed to dedicate his presidency to the fight against terrorism. He did not seek this task; it sought him out. Now he must find the strength and the will to carry it out. Yesterday, speaking to reporters, Mr. Bush plainly found it hard to summon the words to express his feelings over such immense national loss. Pain was etched in his face. For his sake, and for ours, we need a day of prayer to pause and remember, to honor relatives, friends, neighbors and colleagues who were torn from us on Tuesday.
And they will always be with us. They were the neighbors who we used to wave at. The friends we used to e-mail. The police officers who will no longer walk their beat. The firefighters and ambulance workers who answered their last call on Tuesday. Words, however, are inadequate to describe the empty place at the dinner table. The phone call that will never come. The silence where once there was the laughter of a child.
We should also remember and pray for those who have suddenly, shockingly been hit by overwhelming loss. A few received last messages from loved ones. Barbara Olson talked to her husband, Ted, shortly before her plane, American Airlines Flight 77, crashed into the Pentagon. Mark Bingham called his mother and told her that he loved her from United Flight 93. Aboard the same flight, Thomas Burnett Jr. told his wife that he and a few passengers were determined "to do something." He then may have helped lead a heroic attempt to overpower the terrorists; the plane crashed into the Pennsylvania countryside. Brian Sweeney, a passenger on United Airlines Flight 175, which crashed into the World Trade Center, simply left a message on his wife's answering machine.
In death, the victims remain as much a part of us of the national fabric as they were alive. When we have reminded ourselves of that fact, we will move forward and take up the good fight just as they would have done. Today, however, we pray for our nation. We urge our readers to do the same.


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