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Victims' Families Attend Kennedy Center 'Concert for America'

By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 25, 2001 – Some 250 families of the dead and missing in the Sept. 11 attack on the Pentagon ambled into the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts here last night for a special performance of "A Concert for America."

The Kennedy Center held the free memorial performance in honor of the victims and mourners of the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center in New York.

The event featured a diverse array of artists including Leonard Slatkin and the National Symphony Orchestra; Heinz Fricke and the Opera House Orchestra; opera stars Frederica von Stade and Harolyn Blackwell; flutist Sir James Galway; jazz's Billy Taylor Trio; and folk vocalist Mary Chapin Carpenter.

"The families were invited to the concert by first lady Laura Bush and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy," said Marine Corps Maj. Ben Owens, DoD Family Assistance Center spokesman. "They were the guests of honor.

"The families joined in the singing of the National Anthem, 'God Bless America' and 'America the Beautiful,'" Owens noted. "Patriotic and spiritual songs were the big hits for the families." The concert marked the first time the families have attended any entertainment event together as a group, he said.

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