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America Recovers: Members of Congress Speak on One-Month Anniversary of September 11 Terrorist Attacks

Aired October 11, 2001 - 14:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: It's been a full month since the attack, and that moment is being remembered on Capitol Hill now -- the congressional leadership, a memorial.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

LLOYD OGILVIE, SENATE CHAPLAIN: ... attack on our nation, we are now involved in a decisive battle to extricate the world from the infamous forces of terrorism. Without your help, dear God, we cannot win; but with your help, we cannot lose.

We face this monumental task of eradicating this manifestation of fanatical evil with your power and your strength. You've called us to a righteous cause. There can be no safety, security or freedom unless you help us press on to victory.

May we never forget those who died in the Trade Center and in the Pentagon and on the airplanes turned into missile of destruction. Dear Father, comfort the families and the friends of the victims, and the police and firefighters who lost their lives trying to save them. Tenderly care for the widows, the widowers, the children, the friends who are living this day of remembrance with anguish and loneliness.

Across our nation people are griped with panic over future attacks, so heal our land, gracious Lord. Bless President Bush and all those working closely with him in developing the strategy to win this just war; protect our women and men of the armed forces; grant us courage for the facing of this hour. Dear God, you are our refuge and strength. Amen.

SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MAJORITY LEADER: Thank you chaplain Ogilvie.

I would like to thank the special guests that we have joining us today. Chief John Buckman from the International Association of Fire Chiefs; Harold Schaitberger, the president of IAFF; Robert Ingram, the chief of the New York City Special Operations Command; and Mike Cahill (ph), who was the first paramedic on the scene at the Pentagon.

One month ago today more than 6,000 innocent men and women had their lives stolen in act of terrorism so hideous and cruel that it still almost defies belief. We come together again today, not as Democrats or Republicans, but as Americans to honor the memory of all those who died at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in that lonely field in western Pennsylvania. We come together to tell their families that they are not alone. They are part of our American family, and we are with them now in their hour of grief and in their days and years to come.

We also come together to say in the strongest possible terms that we stand with President Bush in his determination to find those who committed these hideous attacks and hold them accountable and to destroy their global network of hate and terror.

We are here to express our gratitude to the nations throughout the world who share our grief and our resolve.

We are here to reconfirm the commitment of the Congress to work with each other and with the president to fight the scourge of terrorism in a way that protects our nation and our liberties.

Finally, we are here to say thank you to America's new heroes: the firefighters, the police, the emergency rescue workers who responded to the September 11 attacks, many of whom are still working around the clock at ground zero and at the Pentagon. We are honored to be joined by some of those heroes and by other representatives of the police officers, firefighters and rescue workers who risk their lives every day in communities all across America.

In the first floor of the Capitol is a post office. Taped on a wall in that post office is a cartoon of New York's new skyline showing a huge police officer and a firefighter standing where the World Trade Center used to stand. Below them it simply reads, "America's other twin towers." It reminds me of a sign I saw scrawled on a wall at ground zero. It read simply, "We will never forget."

That is true. Whether we live 100 months or 100 years, we will never forget the thousands of innocent victims who lost their lives on September 11, the heartbreak of those they left behind, or the stunning bravery of those who tried to save them.

Nor will we forget our responsibility to find those who committed these evil acts and stop them.

Today, Senator Lott and I are introducing a resolution that designates September 11 as a national day of remembrance to make sure that our nation never forgets.

It is now my honor to introduce the governor of the state of New York, Governor Pataki.

(APPLAUSE)

GOV. GEORGE PATAKI (R), NEW YORK: Thank you, Senator Daschle.

And let me say how proud I am, first of all, of the tremendous spirit of the American people who have come together in a way I've never seen in my lifetime to support those heroes at ground zero and support the families of those who died, and to help make America a stronger country as we look to the future. And, Senator Daschle, and to you and Senator Lott and my colleagues, your colleagues here and my senators from New York, Senator Schumer and Clinton, I can't think of anything more appropriate at this time than to make sure that September 11 is not forgotten, certainly by those of us who were alive when it happened, but not forgotten by future generations who will remember not just the horror of that attack, but the spirit of this response.

I think the American people and the people of New York state showed the terrorists in the minutes after that attack and in the days since, right up until today, that their effort has failed. Their effort wasn't simply to destroy two towers or blow up the Pentagon or take thousands of lives, their effort was to divide America and take away our confidence and our belief in our freedoms and our future as a country. And they have failed and they have failed miserably.

And one of the prime reasons they failed was the courage that our firefighters and police officers and emergency service workers and ordinary citizens showed risking their lives, and in hundreds of cases giving their lives, to save others and to help them live in safety.

I was not alive on December 7, 1941, but that is a day, because of action taken by the president and Congress, that future generations will never forget. Because of the steps, Senator, that you and your colleagues are taking today, and because of the heroism of our brave emergency service personnel, and the spirit of New Yorkers and Americans who have come together in a way that is going to make our country stronger, September 11 will never be forgotten.

It will be remembered as the day a horrible attack was made upon America, yes. But it will also be remembered as the day when America came together and stood shoulder to shoulder, committed to ending terrorism and making sure that our children and their children's children can live in freedom in this great country for centuries to come.

So to all of you, congratulations, this is a great, great, step forward.

Thank you, senators.

(APPLAUSE)

SEN. TRENT LOTT (R-MS), MINORITY LEADER: Well, thank you very much, Governor Pataki, for being here and for your remarks, and for the tremendous leadership that you have provided in New York. Along with the great senators and the congressional delegation from New York, the governor of Virginia, and our two senators from Virginia that are here, you have set the example for all of us.

We have cried with you, we have grieved with you. We have stood with you. And we have shared a great pride in those that have sacrificed and worked in the recovery efforts.

I've got my FDNY cap, and it's on top of all my other caps now when you enter my little rowhouse here in Washington, D.C. We're proud of the police and the firemen in New York and in Virginia. As a matter of fact, we have a renewed pride in firemen and policemen and people that protect our lives every day because of what we have seen and what we have endured together.

America is pulling together. We are united. Mississippians are pulling for New Yorkers. People from Colorado are pulling for Virginians. We are all together. I even pulled for the New York Giants when they play football, no matter who they play. We've all come together.

And as I've said on a Friday night right after this terrible experience we had one month ago, that when they attack New York City they attacked Naches or San Diego or Denver.

And so those that perpetrated this terrible event expected us to be torn apart, blaming each other, fighting each other, experiencing fear, but it has not happened. We have faith in each other and we have faith in our God. Lloyd Ogilvie, I know, rendered a beautiful prayer for this occasion.

We're going to move forward together. We're going to do what's necessary for clean-up and reconstruction and movement about our country, and to keep our economy strong. We'll do all those things, and we'll do them together.

So I'm delighted to stand here shoulder-to-shoulder with these members of the Senate, with the governor, to represent all of the American people. I've never seen us work together in a patriotic, non-partisan, get-the-job-done attitude than I've seen in the last month.

When you're challenged the most, when you feel the lowest, sometimes that's when you can rise the highest. I believe that will be what comes out of this event.

Waving the flag is not just about a flag, it's about a spirit. And asking God to bless America is not just a phrase we oft repeat at the end of a speech. We say it, we mean it and it will happen. Thank you very much.

(APPLAUSE)

BROWN: You see John Warner, Virginia senator about to take the microphone. New York senators there, Senators Clinton and Schumer surrounded by firefighter, rescue workers, the governor of New York, Senator Allen from Virginia as well.

A memorial to mark 30 days since the attack on the Pentagon and on the trade center. Senator Daschle said we will never forget; if we live 100 months or 100 years, we will never forget. And he and Senator Lott introducing a resolution to make September 11 a national day of remembrance.

We are, as I think we've all come to realize in the last month, this is history we are all involved in now; a history that will be remembered by our children, our grandchildren always: September 11. (JOINED IN PROGRESS)

SEN. JOHN WARNER (D), VIRGINIA: ... and I saw firsthand those first responders from my state -- firemen, policemen, Red Cross, construction, all types. And since that day and until this one, I've said they're a band of brothers and sisters no matter whether it's New York or Virginia or Pennsylvania, all across America. And their heroic actions on that day and continuing at this moment in New York and indeed in Virginia have enhanced those uniforms for future generations to come.

And as I close, and I hope my colleagues join, let us keep in mind prayers for those in the uniform today of the men and women of the armed forces carrying out the orders of our commander in chief in the cause of freedom.

(APPLAUSE)

BROWN: Virginia's other senator, Senator Allen, to the microphone now.

SEN. GEORGE ALLEN (R), VIRGINIA: I joined my colleague and friend John Warner at the Pentagon in Virginia just a few hours ago with the president. I'm wearing this flag. And I also was there with our other colleagues, and rode over in bipartisan -- Barbara and I don't always agree on every issue, but we sat together and we shared our experiences of friends.

And one thinks, at that Pentagon, if any of you all were watching it, when they had the list of names of people who were either in the Pentagon or on that American Airlines Flight 77 that had been hijacked or the people who died at that site. And going through those names, I knew some of those people.

But we'll always remember; we'll never forget those names. And as those names -- it took a while, for those of you all who were watching, it took a while. Indeed, if we paused just for one minute for each life that was taken, the 6,000-plus lives that were taken, if we just pause for one minute for each and every one who lost their life, we'd be here for four days, to give you the sense of the enormity of this vile, vicious attack on innocent, unprotected men, women and children.

Now these terrorists, they thought they'd tear our country apart. But indeed what they have done is forged us together. As our Leader Lott said and Leader Daschle, Governor Pataki, it doesn't matter whether you're from New York or New Jersey or Virginia or North Carolina or Mississippi or anywhere else, we're all Americans. We're all united.

And, indeed, freedom-loving people all over the world are united with us against this atrocity in wanting to rid this world of such vile terrorist attacks.

Now, I have a special memory of the first story I ever heard of law enforcement in the World Trade Center -- I mentioned it on the floor the next day -- about police officers, firefighters in there, in there knowing the building was going to collapse, but still spending their last breaths of life to get as many people out as they could.

The same occurred in the dangerous evacuation and safety efforts at the Pentagon as well.

So we're all resolved to improve our security, naturally, our national defense, our intelligence, our law enforcement, our fire and rescue efforts, and we certainly will do that.

And understand that this war is not a war just against the military. It is a war, and these men and women back here, you're our warriors here at home on the front lines. And we need to change our laws and look at our laws in that regard.

But the reason I'm always going to remember what has happened is in the neighborhood that I just moved into on September 7. Our family moved up to northern Virginia, to Fairfax County. We close on the house on Friday, the weekend we were unpacking things, and a 9-year- old kid came by and he pecked on the door and wanted to play with my children, who are ages 10 and 13. The 3-year-old, I don't think he cared to play with her -- but the bicycles and scooters.

Well, it so happens, sadly, that that youngster who was so friendly to play with my kids, his father was on that American Airlines flight 77 that crashed into the Pentagon. And my children always give me a report on how this youngster's doing each day.

Last Sunday, right after President Bush announced the attacks in Afghanistan, I was back calling my office, door bell rings, I have to get off the phone, folks wanted a statement as to my views in support of the president. So I said, "Hold on here a second," and I go to answer the door.

And there at the door was little Nick (ph), 9-year-old boy, same boy, and he says, "Oh, is Forrest (ph) here, I want to play with him." I said, "Well, Forrest (ph) isn't here, he'll be back in a couple hours, and I'm on the phone, I'm sorry, come back in a few hours." Close the door.

I opened the door back up again and say, "Hey, Nick (ph), you know we're bombing those people who took away your father from you." And Nick (ph) looked down at the ground, he said, "Yes, I know." I said, "Well, we're all behind you. We're thinking of you. We're going to bring justice."

So, Nick (ph), little Nick (ph) has lost his father, but there are stories all across this nation of holes in people's lives, who have lost a father, a mother, a son, a daughter, another relative. But nevertheless, we're always going to remember, we're always going to stay strong, we appreciate our country and our freedoms more than ever before. And I do hope God continues to bless America.

And for you, the men and women in uniform, the firefighters, the law enforcement, I hope God continues to bless our country with people of your character. Thank you all.

(APPLAUSE)

BROWN: The junior senator from Virginia, George Allen. And now Chuck Schumer, the senior senator from new York.

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: Thank you.

And I want to thank Senator Daschle and Senator Lott for bringing us together, and all of my colleagues here, and all of you. And as a New Yorker, I thank all of the American people who have backed us up in our hour of need.

This is called a day of remembrance. It is good that we commemorate; we could not forget. Not an hour goes by without the image of the World Trade Center towers crashing to the ground going through our minds.

Our children have nightmares. My daughter told me two nights ago, my 12-year-old, how she woke up from a dream where she was a young infantrywomen; had found Osama bin Laden, shot him. But he still lived, and he was on his way to poison New York again. Our children have been affected forever. She woke up just as my wife was about to eat a poison apple.

And most of all, we think of the families who are in mourning; the thousands and thousands of empty seats at the dinner table. They've been empty for the last month. They will remain empty for the years to come. So we can't forget.

But we also remember on into the future. And we remember those who gave their lives by moving forward. We remember them by honoring policemen, firefighters, rescue workers, in ways that we never honored them before. In New York, in every corner of our city -- and I know this is true throughout America -- when a fire truck goes out or a police officer walks the beat, they're patted on the back by the citizens.

We're remembering by beginning to rebuild New York. And I want to tell America, with your help New York will be back bigger and better than ever.

(APPLAUSE)

SCHUMER: We remember by unifying as a country. And by all of us being one here in Washington, the partisanship has greatly diminished. And in the country, we all feel united no matter what part of the country we are from. And we will remember by bringing those who did this cowardly and dastardly act to justice.

To this we say, to those who lost their lives, we remember you and we will remember by making ourselves better in the future.

(APPLAUSE)

BROWN: And now the former first lady, Senator Hillary Clinton.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: I want to thank the chaplain, especially, for being here and for starting this event. And I particularly noted the way that you described this as a day of remembrance and resolve, and that made a very big impression on me.

I also want to thank our leaders, Senator Daschle and Senator Lott, for their leadership and unity. I want to thank Senator Nichols for his support, our colleagues from Virginia, whom we've already heard from, Senator Warner and Senator Allen. And I also want to thank Senator Voinovich for being here, and Senator Mikulski, and Senator Sarbanes was here, as well.

You know, we are trying as best as human beings can to put what happened a month ago into words.

It's a very difficult challenge. You've heard some eloquent words here today from the hearts, souls of people who are leaders and understand the challenge that confronts us as a nation.

But as my colleague, Senator Schumer just said, a month has passed, but in some cases, the days of those months have seemed like years -- wrenching, painful years. Particularly for those who have lost a loved one, for those who were near the sights of this destruction, who experienced, who smelled it, who felt it.

And in a very real sense every American was there. We were there at the Pentagon, we were there at the World Trade Center, and we were there in Pennsylvania. And what we attempt to do today is to carry on, to keep going, and to make absolutely clear that for those who were directly impacted by these evil attacks, we will be there far into the future. We will be there with the support and assistance that families need to get back on their feet, that businesses require to keep their doors open, and customers coming, to rebuild -- and I was delighted today at the Pentagon when I heard the president make that very strong statement about rebuilding the Pentagon just as he had said in his address to Congress that we would rebuild New York. That American spirit survives intact. And what it calls on each of us to do is summon our resolve while we remember.

I'm personally very grateful to all who have supported New York, and for the kind of continuing concern and prayers that have been sent our way.

New Yorkers, like Americans everywhere, are resilient people. That's what we're demonstrating every single day as we go forward. But we know we're also human beings. And we need to have the kind of outreached hand and hug and prayer that says, "We see you, we know you, we care about you."

On the streets of New York, you can chance upon a garden in front of nearly every firehouse that just spontaneously grew up as people brought flowers and pictures and tokens of their esteem and caring.

And so on a busy day, as people are getting about their daily lives, all of a sudden we're stopped short by a memorial. And there are hundreds and thousands of them. We will memorialize the losses that we suffered, but we will also, as we remember and resolve to go forward, make clear that what really counts in the long run is the human spirit. And nowhere has it been given fuller flower than in our country.

That is what they hate about us. That is what they look at and cringe, because of our freedom, our spirituality, our efforts to translate one out of many. And we will continue to do that against this cult of evil.

But we have to remember, as well as resolve, that as we go forward we will not lose our humanity and our concern for those who lost a loved one just a month ago.

Thank you all very much.

(APPLAUSE)

BROWN: The junior senator from the state of New York, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the last in a series of senators from the two affected states.

Sen. Daschle, in his remarks -- and we repeat this -- he said, We will never forget; if we live 100 months or 100 years we will never forget. Then he said that he and Sen. Lott, the minority leader in the Senate, will introduce a resolution to make September 11 a national day of remembrance in the same way that Pearl Harbor is.

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