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Faith 'Under Fire,' Says General at Prayer Service

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 14, 2001 – More than 200 military members and civilians sought solace and inspiration in the first of a series of all-faith prayer and remembrance services held today in the Pentagon.

The Sept. 11 terrorist assaults on the Defense Department's headquarters and the New York World Trade Center represent a test of faith and character for the nation, said Maj. Gen. Robert L. Van Antwerp Jr., the Army's assistant chief of staff for installation management.

Van Antwerp was a featured speaker at a 10 a.m. service, one of three scheduled at the Pentagon as part of President George W. Bush's declaration that Sept. 14 would be a national day of remembrance for the victims of the attacks.

"The testing of your faith develops perseverance," said Van Antwerp, who remarked that he lost two co-workers in the Pentagon attack. "And perseverance must finish its work, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything."

Pentagon Chaplain Army Col. Henry Haynes led the group in prayer and read President Bush's Remembrance Day proclamation to the group.

"'We mourn with those who have suffered great and disastrous losses," said Haynes, quoting Bush. "'All our hearts have been seared by this sudden and senseless taking of innocent lives.'"

Haynes then encouraged the group to pray for healing and for the strength to serve and encourage one another in hope and in faith.

People's faith in themselves and others has come under attack as a consequence of the terrorists' actions, Van Antwerp said.

"A lot of what we've been seeing is the Pentagon on fire," Van Antwerp remarked, "because that is the testing of our faith -- we're under fire right now."

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