91/11/2001: The Day That Changed America
The Pentagon Remembers
By Glenn Greenberg

A member of the U.S. armed services salutes as a flag is unfurled during a memorial service at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. (Photo: Roger L. Wollenberg/NewsCom)
September 11 — President Bush shed a single tear as he began his speech to the thousands of people gathered outside the Pentagon. He spoke at a service in memory of those killed in last year's terrorist attacks on the United States.

"One year ago, men and women and children were killed here because they were Americans," he began. "And because (the Pentagon) is a symbol to the world of our country's might and resolve. Today, we remember each life."

American Airlines Flight 77 was hijacked on the morning of September 11, 2001, and crashed into the Pentagon building, the nation's central military headquarters. The crash killed 189 people, including the five hijackers.

"The (people) whose lives were taken in this place — veterans and recruits, soldiers and civilians, husbands and wives, parents and children — left behind family and friends whose loss cannot be weighed," the President said. "The murder of innocents cannot be explained, only endured."

A Year of Rebuilding
The ceremony at the Pentagon began at 9:30 a.m. EDT. A moment of silence was held seven minutes later — the exact time when the plane crashed into the building one year ago.

The section of the Pentagon that had been destroyed in the attack was rebuilt in time for the memorial service.

"Within one year, this great building has been made whole once again," said the President, clearly proud of the achievement. "Many civilian and military personnel have now returned to offices they occupied before the attack. The Pentagon is a working building, not a memorial. Yet, the memories of a great tragedy linger here."

The War Continues
The crowd, which included members of the President's Cabinet, the U.S. Congress, military officials, and civilians, applauded as the President restated the nation's commitment to the war on terrorism that began last year.

"We renew our commitment to win the war that began here," he said with determination. "We fight as Americans have always fought, not just for ourselves, but for the security of our friends, and for peace in the world."

Allegiance to the Flag
Earlier in the ceremony, President Bush stood with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld as a huge American flag was unfurled in front of the rebuilt section of the Pentagon, to the sound of thunderous cheers from the crowd. The playing of the national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner," followed. Then, a group of school children led the crowd in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

Rumsfeld, who also gave a speech during the service, said, "The terrorists wanted September 11 to be a day when innocents died. Instead, it was a day when heroes were born."