- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 11, 2002

President Bush stood beside a Pentagon rebuilt and a scarred Pennsylvania field overgrown by golden grasses to mourn on this new September 11 the murder of so many innocents a year ago. In their memory, he committed the United States military to victory in the war the terrorists began.
"We rededicate this proud symbol and we renew our commitment to win the war that began here," a somber president said as he led America's anniversary observances of the attacks that killed 184 at the Pentagon and nearly 3,000 in New York and Pennsylvania.
"Though they died in tragedy, they did not die in vain. Their loss has moved a nation to action in a cause to defend other innocent lives across the world," he said. Gesturing with his right hand clenched into a fist, the commander in chief added:
"As long as terrorists and dictators plot against our lives and our liberty they will be opposed by the United States Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force and Marines!"
The roar of four F-16 fighter jets overhead punctuated the ceremony, the first visit in Mr. Bush's daylong pilgrimage to the places scarred by four hijacked airliners last September 11. In rural Somerset County, Pa., he and first lady Laura Bush strode with a wreath of flowers through knee-high grass to the spot where United Flight 93 crashed en route to an unknown Washington target.
In the center of a ring of families gathered grieving on that wind-whipped field, Mr. Bush stood listening to a military choir's "Battle Hymn of the Republic." The wreath-laying was conducted on the spot at which the plane stopped moving, after crashing into a field and skidding for 75 feet in a fiery wreck.
Emotions ran high amid hugs and expressions of sorrow even occasional laughter during Mr. Bush's private meeting at the site with family members. One couple approached him with a lei and president immediately draped it around his neck.
The memorial observances unfolded in a nation on higher alert against the possibility of more attacks. Vice President Richard B. Cheney was at an undisclosed location, armed anti-aircraft missiles were deployed around the nation's capital and military aircraft patrolled the skies.
Church bells tolled throughout the capital city at 8:46 a.m. EDT, the moment when the first hijacked airliner struck the World Trade Center in New York. Members of Congress decided to gather on the Capitol steps to sing "God Bless America" as they had done one year ago in a spontaneous demonstration of the nation's resolve.
Via closed-circuit television at CIA headquarters, Director George J. Tenet addressed the agency workforce, pausing to remember the seven employees of the military's Defense Intelligence Agency who were killed at the Pentagon. He called the CIA and other intelligence officers "the heart" of the war on terrorism, and thanked them for their efforts to crack terrorist cells.
"Though they can, and will, seek to strike more blows," Mr. Tenet said, "what they cannot do and will not do is prevail."
Religious leaders of varying faiths gathered at Washington's National Cathedral where Attorney General John Ashcroft joined his solicitor general, Ted Olson, at a solemn memorial service. Mr. Olson's wife Barbara was killed on the plane that crashed into the Pentagon.
"The world stands by you, trying to wipe the tears from your eyes," said Desmond Tutu, former archbishop of South Africa.
Mr. Bush, members of his Cabinet, congressional leaders, beribboned military officers and a crowd of several thousand gathered outside the Pentagon for a ceremony that was part memorial to the dead, part celebration of the rapidly rebuilt military headquarters, and part rallying cry to a military already battling al-Qaida terrorists and preparing for possible action against Iraq's Saddam Hussein.
"The terrorists wanted Sept. 11 to be a day when innocents died," Mr. Rumsfeld said in remarks shortly before the president spoke. "Instead, it was a day when heroes were born."
"We will not let those who died fade from our memories," said Maj. Gen. Gaylord Gunhus, the Army's chaplain.
Mr. Bush was mournful and defiant by turns.
"What happened to our nation on a September day set in motion the first great struggle of a new century. The enemies who struck are determined and resourceful," he said. "But they will be stopped."
From the Pentagon, Mr. Bush flew to Pennsylvania, where a plane possibly headed for the Capitol crashed into the countryside one year ago. Then to New York, where the World Trade Center's twin towers collapsed after taking separate hits from two hijacker-piloted jetliners. He also was speaking to the nation in a prime time address delivered from Ellis Island in New York Harbor.
Americans watched the nation's observances on television screens, which often were split with images from Washington and New York, where the names of victims were solemnly read at ground zero hours before the president arrived.
Grim-faced and gripping first lady Laura Bush's hand, Mr. Bush began his day with prayer at the yellow-steepled St. John's Church where presidential aides fled just minutes after the White House was evacuated last September 11.
"Sept. 11 is a day we are never going to forget are we?" the Rev. Luis Leon asked the congregation. "But it did not break us. They have bloodied us but they did not break us." Bush leaned forward and slowly nodded his head in agreement.
On the South Lawn of the White House, he squinted into the sun in silence at 8:46 the moment that the first plane hit the World Trade Center one year ago.
At the Pentagon, the changes forced by last September 11 were boldly on display. Flags draped the building, and in one office window was a taped sign that declared, "Marian, we miss you!"


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