- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 12, 2002

It was a quiet day of remembrance on Capitol Hill yesterday, as lawmakers made numerous floor speeches and paused for a moment of silence in memory of those who died one year ago in the September 11 terrorist attacks.
"Today we remember those we lost, and we rededicate ourselves to preserving the memories of their lives, and to defeating the terror that took them," said Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, South Dakota Democrat.
House and Senate members attended a ceremony at the Pentagon in the morning, then returned to the tightly guarded Capitol to speak. A moment of silence was observed at noon and normal business was suspended throughout the day, except for a September 11 commemorative resolution passed by both chambers.
"The wound is not healed, nor should we expect it to be," said Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott, Mississippi Republican.
"And yet, our observance of this day is about more than grief, and more than anger. It is about valor, and courage beyond words. It is about compassion, and a unity of spirit."
Members of both chambers ended the day on the steps of Capitol, as they had on the evening of September 11 last year, when they huddled in defiance to the terrorists and sang "God Bless America."
"Our nation is still grieving, but make no mistake, we stand united," said House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt, Missouri Democrat.
One lawmaker, however, said America needs to take a closer look at how it allowed terrorists to build their networks.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, California Republican, blamed the Clinton administration for allowing the Taliban regime in Afghanistan to create a haven for "anti-American terrorists" led by Osama bin Laden.
"Our government in that administration did nothing," Mr. Rohrabacher said. "Who was responsible for the policies that left the Taliban free from domestic rivals?
"How about [Secretary of State] Madeleine Albright? How about President Clinton? They could not get themselves to endorse any meaningful action against the Taliban, even after we'd been attacked in Saudi Arabia or the blowing up of U.S. embassies in Africa."
Most floor speeches in both chambers focused on the lives lost on September 11, the families left behind, the heroic efforts of firefighters, police and rescue workers, and the bravery of the passengers and crew members aboard United Airlines Flight 93, who fought their hijackers.
"We pray for the souls of all that we lost that day, and their families," said Sen. George Allen, Virginia Republican. "We will always remember this day that forged America together."
House Majority Leader Dick Armey, choked back tears during his floor speech.
"We were shocked at what we saw," he said. "But it did not take us long to collect our wits in this great country. Our American heroes fought back," the Texas Republican said.
The House and Senate both passed a resolution remembering the victims of September 11, praising the efforts of the first responders and the ordinary citizens who helped in the aftermath.
It commended the president and military, "in the successful effort to oust the Taliban from power," and committed that Congress will pursue all those responsible for the attacks to "honor the memory" of the dead and "defend bravely the citizens of the United States."
"The terrorists who brought down the World Trade Center thought they could shake the foundation of this country," Mr. Daschle said. "They didn't understand that the foundation isn't concrete and steel; it is our people. It is our commitment our commitment to freedom, to democracy and to each other."
Dave Boyer contributed to this report.

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