President Bush leads the nation Thursday in solemn ceremonies marking the second
anniversary of the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.
It will be a day for remembering the victims, and the horrific events of
a September morning that dawned clear and bright.
Four hijacked planes were turned into missiles on that day, slamming into the
two tallest buildings in New York City, the Pentagon, and a Pennsylvania field.
|Plane hits World
Trade Center building
About 3,000 people died. And etched forever in the nation's conscience is
the sight of crumbling buildings and twisted metal, the sound of screaming
men, women and children, and the stench of smoldering ash and death. "The memories
of September 11 will never leave us. We will not forget the burning towers
and the last phone calls and the smoke over Arlington," said Mr. Bush. On the
eve of the second anniversary of the attacks, President Bush talked about the
meaning of that day that changed America. He spoke of families left behind,
valiant rescue teams, and terrorists with no regard for innocent life. "And
we will never forget the servants of evil who plotted the attack," he said. "And
we will never forget those who rejoiced at our grief and our mourning."
The president spoke Wednesday at an FBI facility in Quantico, Virginia, a
short helicopter ride from the White House. He hosted a screening of a documentary
on the downed World Trade Center towers after his return. And he plans to stay
in Washington throughout Thursday's commemorative events, preferring instead
for the focus to be on the victims and their families.
Mr. Bush will attend a prayer service, and lead a moment of silence at the
White House at 8:46 a.m., the exact time when the first hijacked plane hit
the World Trade Center north tower. In the afternoon, he will travel to a military
hospital in Washington for private visits with soldiers wounded in Iraq and
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld will preside over a wreath laying and
other commemorative events at Arlington National Cemetery and the Pentagon.
Vice President Dick Cheney will represent the White House in New York, but
will not attend a ceremony at the site of the downed twin towers at the request
of city officials, who said the extra security would inconvenience the victim's