Bush to visit September 11 attack sites
Visits to Pentagon, New York City, Pennsylvania
KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine (CNN) -- On the first anniversary of the September 11 attacks, President Bush will visit the Pentagon, New York City and the Pennsylvania site of the United Flight 93 crash and honor the nearly 3,000 lives lost in the worst terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, the White House announced Friday.
Claire Buchan, White House deputy press secretary, disclosed the president's plans to reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Kennebunkport, Maine, where Bush will spend the weekend.
Buchan said the president is going to the three sites "to continue to rally our nation, to mourn and to pay respects to the memory of those who lost their lives."
Bush has visited the Pentagon and the World Trade Center site more than once since September 11, but he has never traveled to Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
That site, in Western Pennsylvania, is the location where Flight 93 crashed after passengers apparently stormed the cockpit to disrupt the hijackers' plans.
Buchan and other White House aides would not provide any other details about the president's September 11 plans.
Joining Bush this weekend at his family's Kennebunkport compound overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, are his father, the former president; his mother, the former first lady; his brother Marvin; and his sister Dorothy Bush Koch.
First lady Laura Bush and the Bushes' daughters, Jenna and Barbara, won't be in Maine; Mrs. Bush will be in Texas, Buchan said.
Bush has one official event on his schedule, a Saturday fund-raiser in honor of Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who is up for re-election. Beyond that, the president plans to spend three days fishing, golfing and running.
Meets with rescued miners
Monday, Bush travels to Pittsburgh, where he will meet with the miners who were rescued after being trapped 77 hours in a Somerset County coal mine, not far from the Shanksville crash site. First responders and the miners' families will also attend the meeting, which is closed to the press.
While in Pennsylvania Monday, Bush also will attend a fund-raising luncheon for Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Mark Fisher.
Tuesday, he has his annual physical and then hosts a grand East Room ceremony to sign a measure into law giving him the authority to negotiate trade deals that Congress can approve or reject, but not amend.
"This trade bill is going to help a lot," Bush said before leaving the White House for Maine. "It's going to help our ranchers, it's going to help our farmers. It's going to help people find jobs."
The White House is calling Bush's month-long stay at his Crawford, Texas ranch, which officially gets under way Tuesday evening, as a "Return to the Heartland Tour," following last year's theme which was billed as "Home to the Heartland."
Buchan said Bush will travel to some 15 cities to talk about education, the economy and trade. Some of the states the president will visit include Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota, California, Oregon, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
Bush will convene an economic forum on August 13 in Waco, Texas, the White House previously announced. The forum will include representatives from business, unions and the government "to discuss the economy and talk about the President's agenda for increasing growth," Buchan said.
In the middle of the month, Bush will host Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld at the ranch to meet about "a variety of issues related to defense programs and the budget, transformation of the military to meet 21st century challenges and missile defense," Buchan said.
At the end of August, Mexican President Vicente Fox will joining a small group of world leaders who have visited the president's Crawford get-away.
The president is not expected back to the White House until early September.
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