Bush Visits Pentagon, Meets Rescuers
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 12, 2001 President Bush visited the the Pentagon this afternoon and met with civilian and military workers involved in fire and rescue operations where a Boeing jetliner crashed into the west wall of the building.
Bush toured the site with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. The two men spoke with rescuers, firefighters and law enforcement personnel.
President Bush (center) arrives at the Pentagon for a firsthand look at the damage caused by the crash of a hijacked airliner into the west wing of the building Sept. 11, 2001. Bush was accompanied by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and conferred with them in the building after visiting the crash site Sept. 12 and meeting fire and rescue workers. Photo by Jim Garamone.
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Firefighters had hung a large American flag from the roof over the side of the Pentagon near the site of the jetliner timpact.
Bush said he was overwhelmed by the devastation. He said he was visiting the site to see the damage for himself and to say thanks to those involved with the effort, "not only here but around the nation."
He wanted to thank the workers in New York City doing the same jobs. "I want to say thanks to the folks who have given blood through the Red Cross, I want to say thanks for the Americans who keep the victims in their prayers," Bush said.
The president inspected the destruction and told reporters that he spoke to Rumsfeld after the attack and the secretary said he had felt the blast move the Pentagon.
"Even though he was on the other side of the building, the building rocked," Bush said. "Now I know why." Visiting the site, he said, makes him sad but also angry.
"Our country will not be cowed by terrorists, by people who don't share the same values we share, by people who are willing to destroy people's lives because we embrace freedom," he said. "The nation mourns, but the government goes on, the country functions. We're on high alert for any possible activity."
Bush then adjourned back into the Pentagon to confer with Rumsfeld, Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and other defense department leaders.