Rumsfeld Charges DoD to Vanquish Terror Enemies
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 12, 2001 Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said America faces "terrible enemies. Enemies we intend to vanquish."
Rumsfeld videotaped a message to all members of the Defense Department today, just over 24 hours after a hijacked plane slammed into the Pentagon and two others destroyed the World Trade Center towers in New York.
A U.S. flag stands outside the Pentagon after a hijacked commercial jetliner crashed into it, Sept. 11, 2001. U.S. Air Force photo by TSgt Jim Varhegyi
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
"The human toll of this tragedy is being counted," he said. "Many in this building have lost friends and colleagues. We're doing all we can for the families of those who were killed or hurt. Our grief is beyond description. Our condolences go out to all those who have lost a loved one.
But the department has pride also, he said, "Pride in our service and in our country. Pride that in the morning 'the flag was still there.' 'The Stars and Stripes' was over the wreckage to mark their place of honor."
Rumsfeld expressed the department's gratitude to civilian firefighters, medical personnel and police who continue to assist DoD. He said he was proud of the way all members of the department behaved.
"It is my duty as head of this department to tell you that more -- much more -- will be asked of you in the weeks and months ahead," he said. "This is especially true of those who are in the field.
"The task of vanquishing these terrible enemies and protecting the American people and the cause of human freedom will fall to you -- the men and women of the Department of Defense. I know we are ready, I know America can continue to count on your selflessness and courage and dedication to duty."
He asked all members of the department to "stay the course in the challenging days ahead. The nation stands behind you."