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 Athens Banner-Herald
Saturday, September 15, 2001

Defiant Bush promises to rid 'the world of evil'
By Ron Fournier

Associated Press



President Bush raises an American flag as rescue efforts continue around him Friday in the rubble of the World Trade Center. Doug Mills/AP

WASHINGTON -- President Bush, vowing to ''rid the world of evil,'' called 50,000 military reservists to duty, won power from Congress to wage war on terrorists and waded into the ruins of Tuesday's attacks in a flag-waving, bullhorn-wielding show of resolve.
''I can hear you,'' Bush told hundreds of weary rescue workers Friday
at the World Trade Center in New York. ''The rest of the world hears you, and the people who knocked these building down will hear all of us soon.''
Cheers of ''USA! USA!'' rang out across the scarred landscape
-- a brief moment of exuberance at ground zero of the worst act of terrorism on American soil.
The nation steeped in sorrow, Bush prayed with his Cabinet and attended services at Washington National Cathedral before boarding Air Force One for New York.
Flanked by U.S. warplanes, the presidential jet negotiated the troubled skies for the first time since last Tuesday, the day that hijackers steered four jetliners to a gruesome demise.
Millions of Americans, hearing the president's call for a day of prayer, streamed to churches, other houses of worship and civic gatherings. Others found different ways to underscore their sadness and anger. Expressions of patriotism abounded.
''God bless the U.S.A,'' read a sign along one of Bush's motorcade routes. Americans flags, half-staff at government buildings, fluttered from porches across the country.
''Today we mourn,'' read another sign. ''Tomorrow we avenge.''
Congress cleared the way for action, approving $0 billion to help the victims, to increase security and to hunt down terrorists who masterminded the attacks. The Senate authorized Bush to use ''necessary and appropriate force'' to retaliate.
The votes were unanimous.
Bush himself gave the military authority to call 50,000 reservists to active duty for homeland defense and recovery missions.
In doing so, he declared a national emergency based on Tuesday's carnage and ''the continuing and immediate threat of further attacks on the United States.''
Though not part of a military mobilization, the activation was meant to signal Bush's intent to wage a war on terrorism that advisers say could take several years and involve far more than the perpetrators of this week's attacks.
''This nation is peaceful, but fierce when stirred to anger,'' Bush said in his prayer service address. ''This conflict was begun on the timing and terms of others; it will end in a way and at an hour of our choosing.''



Secretary of State Colin Powell gestures during a news conference at the State Department in Washington Friday. Evan Vucci/AP

Bush spoke in a calm tone, less emotional than Thursday when he fought back tears during an Oval Office event.
''Our responsibility to history is already clear: to answer these attacks and rid the world of evil,'' Bush said.
When he returned to his pew, the president received a reassuring pat on the hand from his father, former President George H. W. Bush.
Bush's movements were shrouded by intense security, starting with the church services attended by government leaders with one pointed exception: Vice President Dick Cheney. Next in the line of succession, Cheney was kept at a secure, secret location.
The constant buzz of helicopters above the White House was a reminder, too, that life in American had changed.
Still, the nation and its leaders stood defiant.
''This isn't time to hunker down,'' said Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del. ''Let's get back to business.''
Federal investigators released the names of 19 suspected hijackers who seized the four jetliners. Two planes crashed in New York and one at the Pentagon outside Washington.
A fourth crashed in rural Pennsylvania, apparently after passengers fought their hijackers.
From Virginia to Texas, FBI agents detained potential witnesses or suspects and served warrants in search of clues. Law enforcement officials said they had developed information since Tuesday indicating Atlanta may have been targeted as well.
''We got a suspect,'' the president said, as officials pointed to Saudi exile Osama bin Laden.
Bush also said he had ''a war mentality,'' though his twin teen-age daughters were a bit ''freaked out'' by the attacks.
At the Trade Center crash site, rescuers clawed through tons of debris in desperate search for survivors, fearing no more would be found, knowing untold thousands were entombed in the rubble. Rain turned dust to muck, slowing the grim chore.
''America today is on bended knee in prayer,'' Bush told rescue workers from atop a charred fire truck. He had an American flag in one hand, a bullhorn in the other.
''George, we can't hear you!'' somebody in the crowd shouted.
Bush said he could hear them -- and that America's enemies could hear him, too.
Four former presidents joined Bush at church -- Ford, Carter, Clinton and Bush's father -- along with former presidential rival Al Gore.
''Our unity is a kinship of grief and a steadfast resolve to prevail against our enemies,'' Bush said.
He told Americans their pain and anger would ease.
''Grief and tragedy and hatred are only for a time,'' the president said, evoking the name of God a dozen times.
At the White House earlier, leading Bush and his Cabinet in prayer, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld asked God for ''patience to measure our lust for action.''
In a series of telephone calls, Secretary of State Colin Powell urged foreign leaders to cut off any financial or other forms of support for terrorist groups.

Among other actions from Washington:

Congress prepared a
multibillion dollar package of loans and aid to help the nation's airlines, grounded for most of the time since Tuesday's attacks.

The Treasury Department created a special team to track down terrorists' financing.

The IRS delayed an upcoming tax deadline for people who make quarterly payments.

Bush was spending the weekend in Camp David, the secure Marine compound and presidential retreat in Maryland. He planned to meet with his national security team Saturday.
White House and congressional officials were exchanging dates and ideas for a joint session of Congress in the coming days.