Greatest Tasks Face U.S. Military, Bush Says
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 11, 2002 President Bush said that "the greatest tasks and the greatest dangers will fall to the armed forces of the United States" as the country continues its war on the terrorists who struck America Sept. 11, 2001.
Bush, speaking at the Pentagon observance of the one-year anniversary of the attacks, said the nation mourns all those who died in New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. "The murder of innocents cannot be explained, only endured," he said. "And though they died in tragedy, they did not die in vain."
He said the terrorists attacked the Pentagon because it is a symbol of America's might and resolve. "The terrorists chose this target hoping to demoralize this country," he said. "They failed. Within minutes brave men and women were rescuing their comrades. Within hours, in this building, the planning began for a military response. Within weeks, commands went forth from this place that would clear terrorist camps and caves and liberate a nation. And within one year, this great building has been made whole once again."
The president said the war on terrorism is being waged on many fronts. U.S. and coalition partners have captured more than 2,400 terrorists, frozen more than $100 million in funds and continues work to expose terrorist cells and foil future attacks. He said a larger number of terrorists have been killed in combat.
He said the attacks began the first battle of the 21st century. "The enemy who struck us is determined and resourceful," he said. "They will not be stopped by a sense of decency or a hint of conscience, but they will be stopped."
Bush said the United States fights for freedom and liberty. America also fights for the security of allies and for peace in the world. "We fight for the dignity of life against the fanatics who feel no shame in murder," he said.
He thanked coalition allies helping in the battle against terror. "(The terrorists) are opposed by freedom-loving people of many lands," he said. "They are opposed by our allies who have fought bravely by our side.
"And as long as terrorists and dictators plot against our lives and our liberty, they will be opposed by the United States Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force and Marines."
Bush said the U.S. military brings "hope and justice and promise of a better day" wherever it goes. He told members of the armed force that they are "worthy of the traditions you represent, the uniform you wear, the ideals you serve. America is counting on you and our confidence is well- placed."
Bush left the Pentagon for a ceremony in Shanksville, Pa., near where the terrorist-hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 crashed, and afternoon and night observances in New York City.