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Bush Honors Victims, Pledges to Defeat Terrorism - 2001-10-11


It's been one month since terrorists struck New York and Washington. Americans remembered, mourned and vowed to go forward at memorial services at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. At the Department of Defense, President Bush vowed to use all resources necessary to defeat the global terrorism network.

The mournful sound of a military bugler, one precise note after another, drifted from the Pentagon grounds across the Potomac River to official Washington.

President Bush stood at attention with his hand over his heart - one of thousands attending a memorial for those killed when a hijacked plane crashed into the Defense Department.

The families of the dead were there, the rescuers, men of power, and soldiers, sailors and airmen, the rank and file of the U.S. military.

On a morning that dawned as bright and clear as the day when the terrorists struck, the president squinted slightly into the sunshine with a face lined with determination. "On September 11, great sorrow came to our country," he said. "And from that sorrow has come great resolve."

The president offered comfort to the families of the victims. But his words to those responsible for the act that took their lives were harsh. He said the suicide hijackers "died in vain" and vowed America will use every resource at its disposal to triumph in a worldwide campaign against terrorism. "Today, we are a nation awakened to the evil of terrorism and determined to destroy it," he stressed. "That work began at the moment we were attacked and it will continue until justice is delivered."

Mr. Bush said the United States military has responded to the challenge with calm and courage. He told the assembled thousands on the Pentagon grounds the U.S. armed forces will get all the tools it needs. "Our cause is just and worthy of sacrifice," he said. "Our nation is strong of heart, firm of purpose, inspired by all the courage that has come before. We will meet our moment and we will prevail."

Those attending the memorial service could not see the deep gash in the Pentagon where the terrorists struck, taking almost 200 lives. The service faced another side of the building. And yet the image of the disaster site appeared etched deeply in the minds of all present. They listened to the speeches, waved small American flags, stood at attention as hymns played, and gently wiped away their tears.