Security was tight as a convoy of vehicles took the president downtown to the site of the devastation.
Drenched, mud-spattered rescue crews, chanting “USA! USA!,” greeted the Mr. Bush, who addressed the crowd using a megaphone.
“I want you all to know that America today… is on bended knee in prayer for the people whose lives were lost here, for the workers who work here, for the families who mourn, this nation stands with the good people of New York City and New Jersey and Connecticut, and we mourn the loss of thousands of our citizens,” he said.
The president spoke and shook hands with rescue workers and was briefed by senior emergency officials. He was accompanied by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Governor George Pataki and Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Charles Shulmer, among others.
Mr. Bush’s ground-level tour came after he viewed the wreckage from the sky via helicopter.
The president brought with him the good news that Congress approved a $40 billion relief package today to assist with the cleanup.
The Senate and House both passed the measure without objection, which allots money to assist attack victims and seek those behind the strikes on New York and Washington.
At least $20 billion was earmarked for disaster relief efforts.