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America's New War: The Baseball Season Resumes

Aired September 17, 2001 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. Just ahead, a "CROSSFIRE" town meeting at George Washington University.

But first, the latest on America's new war: the fallout over Tuesday's terrorist attacks against the United States hits hard on Wall Street. Jittery investors send stocks plunging. The Dow dropped nearly 700 points, its biggest ever one-day point drop. Airline stocks are hit especially hard, and the troubling industry faces big layoffs. U.S. Airways announced 11,000 layoffs today. Continental already has announced 12,000 layoffs, and other major carriers are expected to follow suit.

Experts say a fear of flying is playing a role in the airlines' troubles. President Bush received a rousing welcome at the Pentagon today. He was there to attend a meeting with defense officials. Mr. Bush reiterated that Osama Bin Laden is the prime suspect in Tuesday's terrorist attacks. And, the president says, he wants justice.

And in Afghanistan, a Pakistani delegation delivers a stark ultimatum from the United States: hand over Osama Bin Laden or expect to be attacked. Afghanistan's Taliban leaders plan to convene an Islamic council tomorrow to determine what, if anything, to do with Bin Laden.

America's favorite pastime, meanwhile, is back in full swing. In just a few minutes, the first pitch in Philadelphia, U.S. cradle of liberty, where the Phillies host the Atlanta Braves. It's one of the first games being played tonight since last week's terrorist attacks.

Let's listen in to some of the pregame ceremonies now under way in Philadelphia.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... dealing with all that. We have the unenviable task of being the first sporting event that's going to be played in New York City. So there's...

BLITZER: Here we are, in Pittsburgh.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a lot on our plate right now on an emotional level, that we're trying to sift through and deal with. But hopefully these four days here in Philadelphia will give us an opportunity to kind of get back into the routine and figure out exactly what changes, if any, are going to be made, and give us some time to think about it. BLITZER: Let's go to Pittsburgh, where the New York Mets are playing the Pittsburgh Pirates. You can see the stadium in Pittsburgh, where they're getting ready for some pregame activities. Most of the players are wearing symbols of the terrorist actions last week. Fire department symbols, American flags all over the stadium.

ANNOUNCER: One of the things you'll see tonight, the "I love New York" pins, which are being worn by many of the Pittsburgh Pirates staff...

BLITZER: And, as many of our baseball fans know, this game was originally scheduled to be played in New York tonight, but it was moved to Pittsburgh because of the disaster in New York City.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, god of all nations, creator and upholder of every person on Earth, accept this prayer from our many hearts now joined as one. In this time of loss and atrocity in our country, we seek the help, the strength and the understanding that only you can give.

In sorrow, we remember the lives of so many of our fellow citizens who perished in the cruel violence that overtook New York City, Washington, D.C. and our own nearby Somerset County. We know that you love them and that you hold them in the palm of your hand.

In amazement and gratitude, we are also united and mindful of the countless generosity and brave men and woman who are giving of themselves in the emergency response to this calamity. Keep them from all harm and be their special strength in their difficult work.

In our grave circumstances, we seek your deepest wisdom to guide our leaders in the response that our nation must make. Point out the path that will really lead to a world of security, peace, happiness for all. May we never be so overwhelmed by evil that we become less than we are called to be. May we always be guided by love and respect.

And finally, lord be near to all the families and communities in this Pittsburgh area, to fill our hearts with hope, generosity, and mutual respect. We honor you, god of goodness, who lives and reigns forever and ever.

Would you please remain standing for a moment of silence?

ANNOUNCER: Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen...

(APPLAUSE)

ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, we ask that you remain standing. Presenting the colors are officers from the State Correctional Institute at Pittsburgh, and to honor America with our national anthem and "God Bless America," we ask that everyone join in the singing, as Staff Sergeant Brenton Black (ph) and Master Sergeant Kathleen Snow (ph), both of the Air Force Reserve 9-11 airlift wing, lead us first with "The Star-Spangled Banner."

STAFF SERGEANT BRENTON BLACK AND MASTER SERGEANT KATHLEEN SNOW (singing): "The Star-Spangled Banner."

(APPLAUSE)

BRENTON AND SNOW (singing): "God Bless America."

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: Now let's go to Philadelphia now, where the Atlanta Braves are playing the Philadelphia Phillies.

CROWD (singing): "God Bless America"

(APPLAUSE)

ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, please remain standing and help us to continue to honor the United States of America. Please join the Valley Forge chorus, under the direction of Gene Bender in singing our national anthem.

CHORUS (singing): "The Star-Spangled Banner."

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: The pre-game activities in Philadelphia, the game involving the Atlanta Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies. And one note: that game moved from Shea Stadium in New York, the New York Mets, to Pittsburgh to play the Pittsburgh Pirates. One of the reasons it was moved: Shea Stadium, in Queens in New York being used as a staging area for relief efforts for those firefighters and others engaged in the rescue operation down in lower Manhattan.

We will continue to monitor all of this and all of the latest developments. But for now, I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. Remember, breaking news anytime here on CNN.

Up next, a special "CROSSFIRE" town meeting live from George Washington University here in Washington, D.C.

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