11 March 2002
Memorial Ceremonies Mark Six-Month Anniversary of 9/11 Terrorist Attacks
(Bush calls September 11 "day the reckoning began" for
By Wendy S. Ross
Washington File White House Correspondent
Washington -- On March 11, six months after the attacks on the World
Trade Center and the Pentagon killed thousands of Americans and their
colleagues from other countries, ceremonies were held at the White
House, the Pentagon, near Ground Zero in New York City, and a small
church in rural Pennsylvania to commemorate the victims and to remind
the world that the fight against global terrorism continues.
At the White House, on a cool, breezy morning, President Bush led a
solemn ceremony on the South Lawn attended by over 1000 people --
members of the U.S. Cabinet, Congress, military, foreign diplomats,
and relatives of some 300 of those killed in the September 11 attacks.
Against a backdrop of flags from around the world, Bush thanked the
nations who are working with the United States in the war against
terror, and said a new chapter in the war has begun -- moving beyond
Afghanistan to uproot terrorist cells in the Philippines, Georgia and
Prior to the speech, Presidential Counselor Karen Hughes noted that
"the next phase of the war against terror is to deny terrorist
sanctuary anywhere they operate in the world, and we know they're
operating in more than 60 different countries."
In his speech, Bush described September 11 as not only a day of
tragedy but a day when the world "was stirred to anger and to action"
over terrorism. "And the terrorists will remember September 11 as the
day their reckoning began," Bush said.
He said "there can be no peace in the world where differences and
grievances become an excuse to target the innocent for murder. Against
such an enemy, there is no immunity, and there can be no neutrality."
"This will require international cooperation on a number of fronts,
diplomatic financial and military," Bush said. "We will not send
American troops to every battle, but America will actively prepare
other nations for the battles ahead."
He urged America's allies to be steadfast in their commitment to the
campaign against terrorism and "take seriously the growing threat of
terror on a catastrophic scale" should nuclear weapons end up in the
"Men with no respect for life must never be allowed to control the
ultimate instruments of death," he said.
"Every nation in our coalition must take seriously the growing threat
of terror on a catastrophic scale, terror armed with biological,
chemical or nuclear weapons," Bush said.
"America is now consulting with friends and allies about this greatest
of dangers, and we're determined to confront it."
Bush ended his address by saying "God bless our coalition," instead of
the usual "God bless America."
Before Bush spoke, a band played the national anthems of coalition
partners, the Boys Choir of Harlem sang "The Battle Hymn of the
Republic," and ambassadors to the United States from three of the 29
coalition countries, representing the global breadth of the coalition,
They were Nigerian Ambassador Jibril Aminu, South Korean Ambassador
Sung Chul Yang, and Turkish Ambassador Faruk Logoglu.
Nigeria's Ambassador praised President Bush for the systematic steps
he has taken to build an international coalition and to secure United
Nations support for the war against terror.
"Africans, even as they help themselves, as they must do, desperately
need to be assisted to be part of the world's economy, to dare to hope
for a better future, to afford democracy, and to be saved from
becoming the next terrorist den," the Nigerian Ambassador said.
South Korea's Ambassador said that "terrorism is the scourge of
mankind. It has nothing to do with religion or culture, and everything
to do with death and destruction. It must not and will not be
tolerated under any circumstances."
Turkey's Ambassador said "September 11 taught us lessons: that
terrorism has no limits; that it knows no religion or ideology; that
it's not confined to any geography or nationality. But one lesson
stands above others: that the war on terrorism requires sustained
solidarity by the civilized world, unrelenting long-term struggle on
He added that Turkey's presence in Afghanistan "is one proof that the
war on terrorism is not against Islam. Turkish society itself is
living testimony to the proposition that Islam, democracy and
modernity are compatible. Our secular society is one where
civilizations do not clash but where, indeed, they embrace."
At the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld, in a memorial
ceremony attended by military and diplomatic leaders from the 29
nations in the anti-terrorism coalition, said September 11th "was
truly an attack against the world. Citizens from more than 80
countries died that day, men and women of every race and every
religion. So the United States was not alone."
Rumsfeld also visited the site at the Pentagon where American Flight
77 crashed into the building killing 189 persons. Reconstruction of
the site is ahead of schedule, and is slated to be finished by
September 11, 2002.
In New York City, local officials led a ceremony at Battery Park
dedicating a spherical bronze sculpture that had hung in the World
Trade Center as a temporary memorial to the thousands who died as a
result of two airliners crashing into the World Trade Center,
collapsing its two towers.
The ceremony was held at the exact time six months ago that the
hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 -- the first of the two hijacked
airliners -- crashed into the World Trade Center.
New York Governor George Pataki said the sphere stood for 30 years in
the plaza of the World Trade Center as a symbol of global peace. "On
September 11th it was damaged. It was damaged but not destroyed," he
said. "And like New York, it has been unearthed, unearthed to serve a
new purpose, to serve as the symbol of our never forgetting those
heroes who died on September 11th, and our never forgetting that good
will overcome evil, courage will overcome terror, love will overcome
hatred, tolerance will overcome bigotry, and we will be united and
stronger because of their sacrifice."
At twilight on March 11, at Ground Zero in New York, 88 searchlights
were to be turned on and beamed skywards as a "Tribute of Light,"
simulating the two World Trade Center towers. The lighting of the sky
is to continue nightly through April 13.
And in a small Pennsylvania town, a memorial ceremony was held in a
small church not far from the site where one of the four hijacked
airliners -- United Flight 93 -- crashed into a field.
Hundreds of people, including family members of the victims and
representatives of several faiths, attended.
Flight 93 crashed after four hijackers took over the aircraft bound
from Newark, New Jersey to San Francisco, and turned the plane back as
it approached Cleveland, taking a course toward Washington. Calls from
people on the plane to loved ones suggested the passengers confronted
the hijackers before the crash that killed everybody on board.
It was the only one of four hijacked planes that did not cause any
deaths on the ground.
Following the service, some 300 people went to the site of the crash,
where family members of the victims laid flowers next to a bronze
stone put there in memory of the victims.
The memorial at the site reads: "This memorial is in memory of the
brave men and women who gave their lives to save so many others. Their
courage and love of our country will be a source of strength and
comfort to our great nation."
And, in London, Vice President Dick Cheney, starting a ten-day tour to
12 nations, joined with British Prime Minister Tony Blair at his 10
Downing Street residence to commemorate the attack on the United
States and remember the citizens of the many nations who died
(The Washington File is a product of the Office of International
Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:
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