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US Congress Observes September 11


U.S. lawmakers have marked the one year anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. Members of Congress mourned lives lost in Washington, New York, and Pennsylvania, and recommitted themselves to supporting the war against terrorism.

At almost exactly the same time they did one year ago members of the House and Senate gathered on the Capitol steps sang God Bless America.

Earlier, at noon, both houses of Congress observed a moment of silence in memory of the victims. And a special resolution, read here by the clerk of the House of Representatives, recognized September 11, 2002 as Patriot Day.

"That the Congress recognizes September 11 as both a day to remember those taken from their families, loved ones, and fellow citizens, and a day for Americans to recommit to the nation to their freedoms and to each other," the clerk said.

One by one throughout the day, lawmakers rose to pay tribute to victims and heroes, and vow support for the war against terrorism. Democratic Congressman Richard Gephardt and Republican Henry Hyde.

"And we will remain resolved, with our President, to defend against all those who threaten the liberty, freedom and democracy that define our nation," Mr. Gephardt said.

"Our enemies have no aim except destruction. Nothing to offer but a forced march back to a bleak and dismal past. Theirs is a world without light," Mr. Hyde said.

Last year on September 11, in the tense moments after the attacks in New York and at the Pentagon, there were fears another aircraft might be headed toward the Capitol building.

Passengers and crew on Flight 93 have been hailed as heroes for apparently fighting the hijackers, before that plane crashed in Pennsylvania. House Republican majority leader Dick Armey was among those paying tribute to those on Flight 93.

"Immediately on understanding on Flight 93 how vicious this was and how evil the intent, our American heroes fought back," he said.

Congress is now turning its attention to the upcoming debate over President Bush's determination to deal with Iraq.

Although lawmakers are united on the need to fight terrorism, many remain skeptical about the administration's justification for quick action to oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

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