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Congress Meets in NY to Honor City, Victims of Sept. 11 Attacks - 2002-09-06


In a tribute to victims of the September 11 terror attacks, about 300 members of Congress have held a special session in New York City. Lawmakers remembered the tragedy and heroism of that day a year ago, and vowed to remain united in the fight against terrorism.

More than 200 years ago, the country's first Congress met in New York. On Friday, legislators gathered to remember one of the most horrific events in the nation's history in which nearly 3,000 people died.

One by one, four lawmakers representing New York read a special resolution - one of them Senator Charles Schumer.

"In remembrance of the victims and heroes of September 11th, 2001, and in recognition of the courage and spirit of the city of New York, the Congress shall conduct a special meeting in Federal Hall, New York, New York, on September 6, 2002," he said.

The event took place in Federal Hall, a short distance from the site of the former World Trade Center destroyed on September 11.

Congressman Richard Gephardt said Americans have mourned since that day, but also grown stronger.

"America is on a mission. Not retribution or revenge. Not just to defeat terrorism," he said. "But to show once again that good can triumph over evil, and freedom can overcome fanaticism."

Speaking in his constitutional role as President of the Senate, Vice President Dick Cheney said New York had shown itself to be a place of valor, generosity and grace. And he referred to challenges ahead.

"Since the hour of those attacks, we've been a nation at war, called once again to defend our liberty, and our lives, and to save humanity from the worst of horrors," he said. "As a nation born in revolution, we know that our freedom came at a very high price. We have no intention now to let is slip away."

Later, New York Governor, George Pataki, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, picked up on that theme.

Pataki: We are united in our fight against terror. And in our defense of freedom. We are vigilant. We are strong. We are New Yorkers. We are Americans.

Bloomberg: For the terrorists, the attack on the World Trade Center, as devastating as it was, was a failure.

Lawmakers also heard from Susan Magazine, whose husband Jay died in the World Trade Center on September 11. "The events of September 11th were an attack on our nation. And they were an attack on individuals, and individual families," she said.

Later Friday members of Congress, all holding small American flags, went to "ground zero" to lay a wreath at the site of the World Trade Center.

Over the past year, lawmakers appropriated millions of dollars to help New York City recover from the terrorist attacks. But the symbolic value of Congress holding a joint session in the city so physically and emotionally scarred on September 11 can never be estimated.

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