- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 4, 2002

President Bush will address the nation in a prime-time speech September 11 after attending a private prayer service in a Washington church and traveling to all three terrorist attack sites, the White House announced yesterday.
In the 9:01 p.m. speech, the president will pay tribute to the 3,052 persons killed in the worst terrorist attack against the United States and lay out "the task that lies ahead" in the U.S.-led war against terrorism.
"On September 11, the president will honor those whose lives were lost in a respectful and solemn way," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said. "He will also talk about the task that lies ahead as we continue defending freedom and honoring those who gave their lives that day."
Mr. Bush and his wife, Laura, will begin the day at 7:45 a.m. with a private church service in Washington. At the White House, there will be a moment of silence observed at the White House at 8:46 a.m the exact time the first hijacked airliner crashed into the World Trade Center tower in New York one year earlier.
At 9:35 a.m., the president and first lady will attend a ceremony at the Pentagon, where 12,000 people will gather in front of the portion of the building demolished at 9:37 a.m. last September 11.
From there, the couple will fly to Shanksville, Pa., for a 12:35 p.m. event in the hills where Flight 93 crashed after passengers battled with hijackers led by Todd Beamer, who spurred others on with his final call to action: "Let's roll." Some officials believe the plane was heading to the White House the original target of the plane that crashed into the Pentagon.
Relatives of some passengers on United Airlines Flight 93, who took on the hijackers after learning of the other attacks in cell-phone conversations, have complained that Mr. Bush has not visited the Pennsylvania crash site.
"Those who were here at the White House that day feel strongly about honoring those who gave their lives that day on Flight 93, particularly given the fact that most of us view that as saving the lives of those who were here at the White House that day," Mr. McClellan told reporters.
In that ceremony, to be attended by 30,000 people, the president will lay a wreath in the field where the plane crashed.
About 4:30 p.m. September 11, Mr. Bush will lay a wreath at ground zero, site of the former Trade Center towers in New York. That night, he will address the nation from New York.
The following day, Mr. Bush is scheduled to deliver a speech to the United Nations in New York City.
White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said the speech would be a "respectful, solemn tribute to those who lost their lives on the attack on our country on September 11 words of thanks and love to the families of those whose relatives were taken from us.
"And I think it will be a reminder of the importance of liberty, and how our United States stands strong throughout the world in promoting liberty," he said.
Meanwhile, Tom Ridge, director of the White House Office of Homeland Security, said he thinks U.S. security has improved significantly since the attacks.
"I think we've made substantial progress and I think we are substantially safer than we were on September 11," he said on ABC's "Good Morning America."
Mr. Ridge said he knew of no "specific credible information" about any particular threat on September 11. "On that day, like every day since September 11, America will be vigilant" and authorities at all levels of government "will continue to be on guard."
But he said the focus of the day is "to celebrate heroes. We are going to remember some extraordinary things that Americans did on behalf of one another."


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