Pentagon – 9/11/02
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JIM LEHRER: The west side of the Pentagon in Washington. Much of official Washington gathered there just after 9:00 this morning to remember the 184 people who died there a year ago.
MAJ. GEN. GAYLORD GUNHUS: Let us pray. Almighty God we ask you to bless us as we gather today in this sacred place. While the reality of our pain and loss has become all too apparent, we ask you now to bless the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice a year ago. Bless those who suffered injury and are still recovering. Bless all of those who aided in the rescue and recovery.
Bless all the affected families and friends who struggle with the loss and pain. Our tribute to all of them, oh, Lord is our steadfast resolve. With your blessing, oh, Lord, we consecrate this building all who serve here, all the men and women of our armed forces who serve around the world , guide us as we press on in the cause of justice and peace for our country and for the world. God bless America. Amen.
SPOKESMAN: President Bush escorted by Secretary Rumsfeld will move to the side stage for the unfurling of the American flag and our National Anthem. (Applause) ( cheers and applause )
SINGING: Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light what so proudly we hail at the twilight’s last gleaming, whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight o’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming and the rockets red glare the bombs bursting in air gave truth through the night that our flag was still there. Oh, say does that star spangled banner yet wave o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave. (applause)
SPOKESMAN: Now stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.
GROUP OF CHILDREN: I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
SPOKESMAN: Ladies and gentlemen, General Myers.
GENERAL RICHARD MYERS: President and Mrs. Bush, Secretary and Mrs. Rumsfeld, distinguished guests, families and friends of those we lost a year ago today, until last year in this country, the day September 11 was significant, but only to a few hardcore historians. On this day in 1777, American forces fought under the new national flag, the stars and stripes, for the first time, at the battle of Brandywine in Pennsylvania. On September 11 in 1814, American Naval forces won an important victory on Lake Champlain in Upstate New York. And ironically, on this day in 1941, workmen began the construction on this building, the Pentagon.
September 11 is, unfortunately, a day that will now always be remembered. But I think we’re a nation that refuses to dwell on our past sorrows. We rebuild; we move on to the promise of tomorrow. And just like at the battle of Brandywine, our flag will fly free. And just like at Lake Champlain, we will be victorious. As we go forward, let us remember that this struggle is about the liberties that we hold and that are held by freedom-loving people around the world that we hold dear. It’s our freedom that makes us great. We must not and we will not fail to safeguard this precious gift. May God bless you and your wonderful families, and may God continue to bless America. (Applause)
MAN SINGING: This nation is the land they loved to honor and obey qualities that make someone a hero for today and the silent cheering of the crowd somehow tells them that we’re proud and as we bend our knees to pray may we find a way to say thanks to a hero for today.
SPOKESMAN; Ladies and gentlemen, Secretary Rumsfeld. ( Applause )
DONALD RUMSFELD: President Bush, Mrs. Bush, members of congress and the cabinet, distinguished foreign guests, family members, General Myers and the Pentagon family, welcome. We’re here today to honor those who died in this place and to rededicate ourselves to the cause for which they gave their lives, the cause of human liberty. In a sense, we meet on a battlefield.
If it does not appear so today, that is because of the singular devotion of the men and women who worked day and night to fulfill a solemn vow that not one stone of this building would be out of place on this anniversary. We thank you for your dedication and your accomplishment. (Applause) But we must not forget what happened here. Dedicated men and women came here on a clear September morning to serve their country, and then, in an instant, were taken from us.
We gather today to remember them, but we’re here for another purpose as well: To mark that first anniversary of a day that will be remembered by history and commemorated by successive generations so long as we remain free people. For a battle was joined on that day, a battle still unfolding between a nation of free people and forces that seek to plunge that nation, and, indeed, the free world into the darkness of tyranny and terror. We will win, no matter how long or hard or difficult or costly it is.
One day our grandchildren will back on this time and ask, “How was the war on terror won?” And we will tell them about the brave men and women who gave their lives so that we could live in freedom. We remember them today, and to their families, many of whom are here, know that we have not forgotten. But let us do more than remember. The greatest honor we can bestow on them, the best memorial we can fashion for them is to protect our liberty and secure it for generations to come. That is our charge, that is our responsibility. May God bless our nation in the struggle ahead. (Applause)
SPOKESMAN: Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States. (Applause)
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: One year ago, men and women and children were killed here because they were Americans and because this place is a symbol to the world of our country’s might and resolve. Today, we remember each life. We rededicate this proud symbol, and we renew our commitment to win the war that began here. (Applause)
The terrorists chose this target hoping to demoralize our country. They failed. Within minutes, brave men and women were rescuing their comrades. Within hours, in this building, the planning began for a military response. Within weeks, commands went forth from this place that would clear terrorist camps and caves and liberate a nation. And within one year, this great building has been made whole once again. (Applause) Many civilian and military personnel have now returned to offices they occupied before the attack. The Pentagon is a working building, not a memorial. Yet the memories of a great tragedy linger here. And for all who knew loss here, life is not the same.
The 184 whose lives were taken in this place– veterans and recruits, soldiers and civilians, husbands and wives, parents and children– left behind family and friends whose loss cannot be weighed. The murder of innocents cannot be explained, only endured. And though they died in tragedy, they did not die in vain. (Applause) Their loss has moved a nation to action in a cause to defend other innocent lives across the world. This war is waged on many fronts. We’ve captured more than 2,000 terrorists; a larger number of killers have met their end in combat. We’ve seized millions in terrorist assets. We’re reorganizing the federal government to protect the homeland. Yet there’s a great deal left to do, and the greatest tasks and the greatest dangers will fall to the armed forces of the United States. I came to the presidency with respect for all who wear America’s uniform every day… (applause)
Every day, as your commander in chief, my respect and that of our nation has deepened. I have great confidence in every man and woman who wears the uniform of the United States of America. (Applause) I am proud of all who have fought on my orders, and this nation honors all who died in our cause. Wherever our military is sent in the world, you bring hope and justice and promise of a better day. You are worthy of the traditions you represent, the uniform you wear, the ideals you serve. America is counting on you, and our confidence is well placed. (Applause)
What happened to our nation on a September day set in motion the first great struggle of a new century. The enemies who struck us are determined and they are resourceful. They will not be stopped by a sense of decency or a hint of conscience, but they will be stopped. (Applause) A greater force is amassed against them. They’re opposed by freedom-loving people in many lands, they’re opposed by our allies who have fought bravely by our side, and as long as terrorists and dictators plot against our lives and our liberty, they will be opposed by the United States Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force and Marines. (Cheers and applause)
We fight as Americans have always fought: Not just for ourselves, but for the security of our friends and for peace in the world. We fight for the dignity of life against fanatics who feel no shame in murder. We fight to protect the innocent so that the lawless and the merciless will not inherit the earth. At every turn of this war, we will always remember how it began and who fell first: The thousands who went to work, boarded a plane, or reported to their posts. Today the nation pays our respects to them. Here and in Pennsylvania and in New York, we honor each name and each life. We ask God to bring comfort to every home where they are loved and missed. And on this day and on every day, may He watch over the United States of America. God bless.
(Airplanes flying overhead)