Bush, Rumsfeld speak at Pentagon memorial
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Waving small American flags in the brilliant Washington sun, thousands of mourners were stirred to their feet by a military chorus' rendition of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" Thursday at a memorial service at the Pentagon.
President Bush delivered keynote remarks at the service, one month after an airliner hijacked by terrorists crashed and killed 189 people at the military complex.
"On September 11, great sorrow came to our country," said Bush, adding that those responsible for the acts will be brought to justice. "And from that sorrow has come great resolve. We have awakened to the evil of terrorism, and we are determined to destroy it. We will continue until justice is delivered."
Speaking to the military men and women on the Pentagon lawn, he said, "In the missions ahead, you will have everything you need. Every weapon, every resource -- everything you need to win a full victory for the cause of the United States of America. And I pledge to you that America will never relent in this war against terror."
Bush and first lady Laura Bush were joined in Washington by former President Clinton and Sen. Hillary Clinton for the hour-long Pentagon ceremony, presided over by chaplains from all four branches of service with readings from the Hebrew Torah, the Islamic Koran and the Christian Bible.
Before the president's remarks and those of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the names of the 189 Pentagon victims scrolled over giant screens near the dais.
Rumsfeld hosted the event on the Pentagon's Parade Field, where some 20,000 invited guests included several thousand family members of those who died.
"We are gathered here to remember, to console and to pray," said Rumsfeld, referring to the victims. "We remember them as heroes, and we are right to do so."
Rumsfeld said that those responsible for the terror attacks believed "not in the theology of God," and their victims would be remembered because of how they lived: "proud of freedom, proud of their country and their country's cause, the cause of human freedom."
Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, praised those who died, saying that they were "serving their country" in the course of doing their jobs at the Pentagon, "and on September 11 were called to make the ultimate sacrifice."
"For that," he said. "We call them heroes."
The ceremony followed a similar service in New York City and marks the end of the 30-day mourning period for the victims of the attack.
All 64 on board American Airlines Flight 77 and 125 people working at the Pentagon were killed.
Investigators reconstructing details of the attack say they believe terrorists hijacked the American Airlines flight shortly after takeoff from nearby Dulles airport as it left on a flight to Los Angeles.
If the diverted plane had been flown on a direct path to the Pentagon, the aircraft would have reached the site within minutes. Instead, the plane spent more than an hour in the air before it struck the building.
Flight 77 was one of four commercial airliners hijacked September 11. Two other jets crashed into the World Trade Center towers in New York, and a fourth jetliner crashed in Pennsylvania about a half-hour after the Pentagon attack.
When the aircraft struck the Pentagon, it caused widespread damage on the building's fourth, fifth and sixth corridors. The impact tore a gaping hole in one side of the Pentagon.
Security in and around the building has been extremely tight since the attack, with heavily armed patrols walking the hallways at all times, and armed crews manning military "humvee" vehicles to reinforce guard checkpoints.
Silence, bagpipes mark World Trade Center memorial
October 11, 2001
See related sites about US
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.
U.S. TOP STORIES:
|Back to the top|