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Olympic Torch Passes Scene of Pentagon Attacks - 2001-12-21

The Olympic torch for the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City has arrived in Washington, with special recognition for the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks. One of the first stops the torch made was at the Pentagon, where a special ceremony honored those killed and injured there.

As the US Army Band played the Olympic fanfare and survivors of the September 11 terrorist attack looked on, the Olympic Torch arrived at the Pentagon Friday.

The torch was carried through an honor guard of soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines holding American flags. Carrying the flame was Navy Chief Petty Officer Bernard Brown, whose 11-year-old son Bernard, Jr., was killed when American Airlines flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon.

Chief Brown passed the torch to several survivors of the attack on the Pentagon, including Mrs. Timothy Maude, the wife of Lieutenant General Timothy Maude, the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army and the senior officer killed in the September 11 attacks. Mrs. Maude said the ceremony was a fitting tribute. "I was just thinking how proud I was of him and how I wish he could have been to see all this," she said. "And this was something another way that I could pay tribute to the 35 years of his life that he gave to the Army."

The torch was carried out of the ceremony by Army Staff Sergeant Christopher Braman, who helped rescue injured workers in the Pentagon, He also retrieved the Marine Corps flag from the damaged building on September 11 and says that he is deeply honored as an American to carry the Olympic torch. "It's all in one, it's a symbol of America," he said. "Whether it's the torch [or] the American flag, it's all a symbol of our way of life. I mean we strive to be the best, the Olympics are the representation of being the best. And in the military that's what we strive for to be the best."

The flag that Sergeant Braman rescued is currently on board the Space Shuttle. The torch will travel through Washington, passing the US Capitol, the White House and the Lincoln Memorial. More than 11,500 torch bearers will carry the flame until it lights the Olympic Cauldron at the Opening ceremonies of the Winter Games in Salt Lake City in February.