Pentagon, Nation Pray for Victims of Terror Attacks
By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sep. 14, 2001 President Bush has proclaimed today as National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on America. He asked employers to permit their workers time off to attend noontime services to pray for the nation.
Prayer services are scheduled at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and noon today in the Pentagon auditorium in honor of more than 125 military and civilian personnel and contractor employee still unaccounted for as a result of the attack on the Pentagon. Bush is scheduled to attend noontime memorial services at the National Cathedral in Washington.
In his proclamation, Bush said terrorists hijacked four passenger jets, crashed two of them into the World Trade Center's twin towers and a third into the Pentagon, causing great loss of life and tremendous damage.
The fourth plane crashed in the countryside of Pennsylvania, killing all on board but falling well short of the hijackers' intended target -- one of the last communications from the plane reportedly was a request to air controllers for permission to turn toward Washington. The press is reporting widely the possibility that the passengers and crew tried to overwhelm the terrorists.
The president said the collapse of both 110-story Trade Center towers and the destruction of part of the Pentagon resulted in horrific carnage -- more than 250 airline passengers and, officials fear, many thousands more people on the ground.
"We mourn with those who have suffered great and disastrous loss," Bush said. "All our hearts have been seared by the sudden and senseless taking of innocent lives. We pray for healing and for the strength to serve and encourage one another in hope and faith.
"I call on every American family and the family of America to observe a National Day of Prayer and Remembrance honoring the memory of the thousands of victims of these brutal attacks and comforting those who lost loved ones," the president said in his proclamation. "We will persevere through this national tragedy and personal loss. In time, we will find healing and recovery; and in the face of all this evil, we remain strong and united."
The president asked everyone and places of worship to mark this National Day of Prayer and Remembrance with noontime memorial services, the ringing of bells at that hour and evening candlelight remembrance vigils.