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Bush Pays Tribute to Law Enforcement Officers - 2002-05-15

President Bush Wednesday paid tribute to the law enforcement officers who died in the terrorist attacks September 11. Mr. Bush spoke at a ceremony marking the day when American police officers remember their colleagues who have died over the last year.

Addressing thousands of police officers on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, Mr. Bush paid special tribute to the 72 law enforcement officers who died in the attack on the World Trade Center.

Along with more than 300 firefighters and rescue workers who died that day, President Bush says the loss September 11 was unlike any Americans have known before. All in one moment, he says, all at one place.

At the ceremony organized by the Fraternal Order of Police, Mr. Bush called the attacks the saddest day in the history of U.S. law enforcement, a day of great horror and of great heroism.

He told of the dying words of an officer trapped in the wreckage of the World Trade Center. "In his final moments trapped in rubble, officer Dominick Pezzulo called out to one of his fellows and he said, 'Just remember me', said President Bush. "The last voice he heard was officer Will Jimeno, promising him they would never forget. So Dominick, today we remember. We remember courage and bravery and sacrifice."

President Bush says the attacks left Americans resolved to hunt-down those responsible for the violence in Afghanistan and around the world. "It was the first day of a long struggle against determined enemies," he said. "It was the first day in which this mighty nation will hunt down the killers and their like one-by-one and bring them to justice."

President Bush placed a flower on a memorial wreath at the Capitol. He says all the families of those lost September 11 are proud of their sacrifice, but he says there is not a husband or wife or parent or child who would not trade the honor to have them back.