Friday was a National Day of Prayer in the United States. President Bush made the proclamation to honor the victims of Tuesday's terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington. In downtown Chicago, thousands of people gathered at two outdoor observances.
On Daley Plaza in the middle of downtown Chicago, the crowd of people waving American flags grew so large that police blocked off surrounding streets to give late arrivals somewhere to stand. At noon, the crowd observed a moment of silence. That was followed by three minutes of church bells ringing throughout the city.
Some people held flags in the air, while others sang or stood silently. All of them, like Steve from Chicago, said they felt they had to be here Friday. "Well, you have to do something," he said. "You have to stand up and let the enemy know that we are going to do something together." "My name is Roz Herbert," said another participant. "This is a terrible thing. The only way to show the world how together we are is to come together and be together. That is why I am here and I wanted to pay my respects to people who have fallen in an act of war."
"My name is Scott Szala. I think we have a tough time ahead and I think this is the start of a healing process to help us go forward from here on out."
One man held up a sign reading, "more united than ever." Another sign said, "the sleeping giant is awake."
Many, like John Pierce of Chicago, said the United States should do what is necessary to track down the people responsible for the attacks. He says he does not think Americans will lose interest in the fight against terrorism if it is not over quickly. "I don't think so," he said. "All they are going to have to do is see a picture of what used to be twin towers of the World Trade Center. I've got that image in my mind of the second plane hitting. I'll never forget it."
The observance in downtown Chicago was just one of many planned Friday in the city and its suburbs. At noon, passengers and workers at both Chicago airports observed a minute of silence.