President Bush declared National Days of Prayer and Remembrance over the weekend and proclaimed Thursday Patriot Day to mark the two-year anniversary of terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Bush signed two proclamations last Thursday. Proclaiming Friday, Sept. 5, through Sunday, Sept. 7, National Days of Prayer and Remembrance, the president encouraged places of worship to hold evening candlelight and other memorial services and to ring bells.
“As we approach the second anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, we remember all that we lost as Americans and recognize all that we have witnessed about the character of America,” the proclamation said. “During these National Days of Prayers and Remembrance, we honor those who were killed and their families, and we ask God for strength and wisdom as we carry out the noble vision that our nation began that morning.”
The proclamation called for prayers for comfort for victims’ survivors, of thanksgiving for unity and compassion exhibited by Americans in the last two years and for men and women in uniform.
“We pray for peace and ask God for patience and resolve in our war against terror and evil,” the statement said. “This conflict was begun on the timing and terms of others. It will end in a way, and at an hour, of our choosing.”
The second proclamation declaring Sept. 11, 2003, Patriot Day also encourages appropriate ceremonies and activities. It asks governors and private citizens to fly flags at half-staff and calls on Americans to observe a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m., Eastern Daylight Time, to honor victims who lost their lives in the attacks.
President Bush, who last year marked the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks by attending high-profile events at crash sites in New York, Washington and Shanksville, Pa., plans to stay closer to home this time.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Bush will start the day by attending a memorial service at St. John’s Episcopal Church near the White House. He will observe a moment of silence on the White House South Lawn at 8:46 a.m., the time the first jetliner hit the World Trade Center in 2001. His only other scheduled public event is to visit recovering wounded from the war in Iraq at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Vice President Dick Cheney will attend ceremonies at Ground Zero in New York City, according to USA Today. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld will take part in observances at Arlington National Cemetery and the Pentagon. Interior Secretary Gale Norton will represent the administration at services in Pennsylvania.
Also in anticipation of Sept. 11, the Department of Homeland Security issued an advisory Thursday warning that Al Qaeda is working on plans to hijack airliners flying between international points that pass over or near the continental United States.
Most of the flights fitting that description originate in Canada, according to CNN, adding that officials have been working in Canada to improve security measures. The advisory was reportedly issued because of concern about the upcoming anniversary of 9/11, new intelligence information and threats to aviation through the summer. Officials said, however, that there were no specific warnings or targets that would warrant raising the nation’s threat-level alert from the current yellow (elevated) to orange (high).
Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.