In Sound of Silence, 9/11's Echo

AT THE PENTAGON: Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, lay a memorial wreath during a ceremony attended by survivors and victims' relatives.
AT THE PENTAGON: Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, lay a memorial wreath during a ceremony attended by survivors and victims' relatives. "The enemies of America . . . will never again rest easy," Gates said. (By Bill O'leary -- The Washington Post)
By Steve Vogel, Robin Shulman and Michael E. Ruane
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The gentle rain, the quiet rush of traffic, the toll of bells and muffled drums, and the voiced names of the dead.

The sounds of Sept. 11 echoed again from Washington to Pennsylvania and New York yesterday as the nation paused to mark the sixth anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

On the south lawn of the White House, President Bush stood in tribute during the morning drizzle with his wife and staff, one of many silent moments across the country.

At the Pentagon, hung with a giant U.S. flag, a bugler played taps and relatives of many of the 184 killed there in 2001 huddled under umbrellas.

In New York, where two hijacked airliners brought down the World Trade Center towers and killed about 2,750 people, the names of the dead were read for hours near the site.

And in Shanksville, Pa., where 40 were killed when United Airlines Flight 93 crashed, bells tolled and its passengers and crew were saluted as "citizen soldiers."

As the United States continues to grapple with the aftershocks of Sept. 11, Pentagon attack survivor Robert Jaworski summed up the situation: "There's never been any forgetting."

He was among about 300 relatives, friends and colleagues of victims who gathered in front of the west wall at the Pentagon, near the site where hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 struck. They were joined by Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and other dignitaries.

A moment of silence was observed at 9:37 a.m., the only sound the hum of cars whizzing by on Route 27.

A large U.S. garrison flag -- similar to the one that firefighters and soldiers hung from the Pentagon the day after the attack -- was draped on the side of the building.

An emotional Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, noted the hearings about the course of the Iraq war that are being held this week on Capitol Hill, across the Potomac River.

"There's a dialogue right now in this democracy, as there should be," Pace said. "Our enemy has declared war on us. The dialogue rightly focuses in on how, where and when we will defeat them."


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