- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 15, 2001

They were not supposed to see death this soon.
Young soldiers from the Army's Old Guard — based at Fort Myer in Arlington — typically serve as honor guards. But they have been at the Pentagon since Tuesday, and have now seen the carnage and devastation left in the wake of a terrorist attack.
The 1,200 or so soldiers, most of whom are barely old enough to vote or buy alcohol, are helping rescue crews recover bodies and shore up the collapsed military complex hit when a hijacked Boeing 757 crashed into the west side of the building.
"Every person they touch makes them a little bit stronger," Command Sgt. Maj. Aubrey Butts said of handling the victims' remains.
"You feel some grieving for the individuals who are in there," said Sgt. Brock Bowman, 22. "They are fallen soldiers, citizens doing good things for their country."
Recovery crews yesterday pulled out most of the remains of the 126 Pentagon personnel who died, and teams still search for the bodies of those on the plane when it crashed.
Around the staging area of the attack site, rescuers and military crews wearing white bodysuits, yellow boots and blue hats moved in and out of the wreckage. One woman sifting through the rubble wore a hard hat with the American flag painted on it.
After some sun-splashed, near-perfect days so at odds with the mood, clouds rolled in early yesterday and a steady drizzle fell before the sun broke through in the afternoon.
On a day when President Bush called for prayer and remembrance, an ecumenical service was held by the National Clergy Council on a hilltop overlooking the damaged building. On the hill lay 190 yellow roses, each one in honor of a victim.
It was hard for people to be forgiving of those who carried out the attack, and anger overpowered many as they paid tribute to the fallen.
"I just can't imagine the monsters that could do this," said Linda Neilsen of Reston, who lost a friend in the attack. "She is on a list of people that were slaughtered."
Dozens of flags had sprouted up around the Pentagon's perimeter and on the nearby hill. Retired Marine Corps Master Sgt. Jerry Belknap, who planted the flags as part of a group from Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1503, said, "It's a sad time" in America.
"Just like everybody else, I'm angry," Mr. Belknap said, with the expression of a man who has seen tragedy and combat. "It's just too much."

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