- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 23, 2001

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) Miss Oregon Katie Harman, a collegian who aspires to a career in bioethics, was crowned Miss America 2002 last night.
Miss Harman, 21, outshone 50 other women in a pageant that celebrated patriotism and mourned the lives lost in the terrorist attacks less than two weeks ago.
As it was, the three-hour competition was two parts beauty pageant and one part telethon, raising money for the Sept. 11th Fund, a charity set up in the wake of the attacks.
Host Tony Danza opened the live telecast with a somber monologue, saying contestants and organizers decided to go ahead with the pageant while paying homage to the victims and tapping into the nation's resurgent patriotism.
"We don't carry on to make less of what happened. We carry on to make more of it, and to add resolve to our nation's voice," Mr. Danza said.
He appealed to viewers for donations to the fund, and a graphic appeared intermittently on the screen to tell them how to do so.
Miss Massachusetts Abbie Lynne Rabine was the first runner-up and Miss Tennessee Stephanie Culberson was the second runner-up. Miss District of Columbia Marshawn Evans and Miss New York Andrea Plummer rounded out the five finalists.
A flag-waving, sellout crowd opened the Miss America Pageant yesterday with a spontaneous recital of the Pledge of Allegiance, then broke into thunderous applause.
Mr. Danza led the 13,800 audience members in the patriotic gesture to begin the 81st annual pageant.
The 51 contestants vying for the title of Miss America 2002 competed in talent, swimsuit and evening wear against a stage set featuring waving flags.
"There are very few things as uniquely American as the Miss America Pageant," Mr. Danza had said Friday.
"And we believe the American public is ready to gather around for something that will help with the healing process."
The interior of Boardwalk Hall was decked up like a political convention, with American flags and red, white and blue bunting hanging from box seats.
Pageant organizers had hoped that Mr. Danza's monologue would dispel any notion that it was disrespectful to carry on with the event. The organizers were criticized by some for not canceling the pageant in deference to the nation's tragedy and its period of mourning.

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