- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 15, 2001

People stopped working, teachers paused in their classes and area residents bowed their heads yesterday at noon to join the rest of the nation in a moment of silence for the thousands who were killed and injured in Tuesday's terrorist attacks and the thousands of others who have helped since.
At the command duty office at the National Naval Medical Center, even the phones stayed quiet.
"The hospital was very calm — no calls or anything for 35 minutes, and we coordinate everything that goes on at this hospital," said Corpsman Cullen Eldridge.
President Bush declared yesterday a National Day of Prayer and Remembrance. He and other national leaders attended a noon prayer service at Washington National Cathedral, where the rendition of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" brought tears to the eyes, said Rep. Constance A. Morella, Maryland Republican.
That scene was duplicated in standing-room-only churches across the region and the country.
At Woodbine Rehabilitation Center, a nursing home in Alexandria, officials read a short announcement over the complex's loudspeaker system, then had a period of silence during which the building was completely silent, said Anne-Marie Bannon, who works there.
After the silence they turned on the radio to hear "Taps," followed by the National Anthem, both of which were also broadcast to all of the rooms.
"Throughout the facility you could hear sobs," Miss Bannon said.
At Parvizian's, an Oriental and Persian rug import store in Bethesda, the electricity was out so workers gathered in the street-level lobby at noon to hold their moment of silence.
"It's the only thing anybody is talking about," said store manager Sean Amini. "All across America, everybody knows someone who has been affected."
John Schneider, an Air Force veteran and Defense Department contractor, was one of about 15 persons who went to the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial at noon.
"I figured this would be the best place to be," he said, pointing at the words "uncommon valor" on the side of the memorial, "because of the uncommon valor of the firefighters and police. We're still missing people at the Pentagon. We still don't know their whereabouts. This is where I wanted to be at noon, showing my patriotism and belief in what they're doing."
A few minutes after noon, some of those gathered around the Pentagon softly began to sing "God Bless America."
A short distance away at Arlington National Cemetery, several groups came to the eternal flame in front of the Tomb of the Unknowns.
"This is a place to think and reflect a little bit," said James Beal, a computer technician from Bethesda.
"You want to put your anger aside."
He said the sad fact is that some will consider those who hijacked the airplanes to be martyrs. "They've created 18 or 19 heroes in their culture," Mr. Beal said. "What they don't understand is they've created 5,000 heroes here."
Cathy Cowger and Barbara Bergesen had hoped to go to the Pentagon, but weren't allowed near it, so they went to Arlington instead.
"For me, it was one place besides the Pentagon that has a connection to our military. I wanted to come to say thank you," Mrs. Cowger said.
Mrs. Bergesen said they were going to try again at the Pentagon, though, because they have a mission — her 9-year-old daughter had asked her to leave near the crash site the flag she made in class on Thursday.
Across the region, schoolchildren were encouraged to wear red, white and blue.
Some schools held assemblies with speakers and patriotic songs. Others just asked students to remember the attacks during a moment of silence.
Even before the president declared yesterday a national day for remembrance, Sterling Middle School in Loudoun County had decided to make it a "spirit day" as a response to the terrorist attacks.
And since schools reopened Thursday, school officials have been taking up a daily collection for the Red Cross. The collection at the middle school raised $500 yesterday morning alone.
"The kids have been great. They've been coming up and throwing fives and tens in, whatever change they have in their pockets," said Tom Pollock, the school's assistant principal.
Alexandra Rockey Fleming contributed to this report.


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide