As a mark of respect for those killed by the heinous acts of violence perpetrated by faceless cowards upon the people and the freedom of the United States on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, I hereby order, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States of America by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, Sunday, September 16, 2001. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this eleventh day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-sixth.
GEORGE W. BUSH
This Sept. 11 marks 10 years since jet planes hijacked by terrorists crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and in rural Pennsylvania, killing nearly 3,000 people and sparking the U.S. war on terror. This year's commemorations will celebrate the memory of the victims and the heroism of the first responders, with speeches by President Obama, former President Bush, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani and others.
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9/11 Brings Enhanced Security to US-Canada Border
RICHFORD, Vt. — Just south of the U.S.-Canadian border in the Vermont town of Richford is a giant outpost, an imposing symbol of the changes wrought by the 9/11 attacks on the United States.
Built by the Border Patrol on 35 acres of land, the 26,000-square-foot structure is the base of operations for agents patrolling about a 25-mile stretch of the international boundary between Vermont and Quebec. It has state-of-the-art communications, a kennel for law enforcement dogs, a booking area with holding cells and office space for up to 50 agents. Outside there's a helicopter pad.
"This building is perfect, it meets all our needs," said Sean McVey, the agent in charge of the Richford station, who has worked in Vermont since 2004. "This gives us basically all the tools we need to do the job."
The enhanced security along the boundary that has been described as the longest undefended border in the world is probably the most visible change since 9/11 in northern Vermont, New Hampshire and upstate New York. Surveillance from helicopters and airplanes bolsters the border protection on the ground.
On 9/11 there were about 300 Border Patrol agents on the 3,987-mile northern frontier; crossing between the two countries was so casual some people didn't even carry identification.
In the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks it was feared that some of the attackers had entered the U.S. from Canada, a fear that proved to be unfounded.
But security officials recognized that Canada's immigration policies enabled some people to enter that country from other parts of the world who would not be able to enter the U.S. directly or legally. The three states' shared border with Canada had dozens of back roads that crossed away from official ports of entry, potential routes into the U.S., it was feared, for other terrorists.
Within days of the attacks, National Guard soldiers were helping staff border posts. Plans were begun to triple the size of the Border Patrol and provide human and technological resources to the agents and border crossing staffers whose agency is now known as Customs and Border Protection, all part of the Department of Homeland Security. The facility was completed almost two years ago.
Now, a decade later the soldiers are back in their barracks and the process is nearly complete. While the Border Patrol won't provide precise figures, officials agree that the number of agents has about tripled and the technological enhancements are helping agents do their jobs.
The changes in Richford are typical. Since shortly after the Border Patrol was created in 1926 until the attacks, about three agents patrolled the area around Richford, based out of an office in the post office.
A photo in the entryway of the new station shows 14 uniformed agents now. Officials won't say how many are based at the new outpost, but hint there are more than when the picture was taken.
The U.S. now has what is, in effect, a border air force that patrols the region. Customs and Border Protection's office of Air and Marine flies both helicopters and airplanes from Plattsburgh, N.Y., just south of the border.
"We live in a sort of a desolate part of the country," said James Diskin, deputy director of air operations for CBP' s Plattsburgh Air Branch. "When you get out into Vermont and New Hampshire, it allows us to do whatever we need to do, to get there as fast as we can to help out."
In addition to border patrols, the aircraft are available to help state and local law enforcement and emergency responders deal with other emergencies. Among the benefits are border reports of suspected drunken drivers trying to enter the U.S. The Border Patrol regularly backs up state law enforcement officers on local emergency calls; officials said the federal agents can reach a crime scene well before state police, in many cases in northern Vermont.
Another benefit post-9/11 is that federal, state and local law enforcement agencies now work much closer together than before the attacks, officials say.
That was evident in 1997 in the North Country town of Colebrook, N.H., when Carl Drega killed two state troopers, a judge and a newspaper editor, then disappeared. Law enforcement officers from four state and federal agencies had to park cruisers side-by-side so officers could retransmit radio broadcasts to make sure everyone knew what was going on. Drega was later killed in a shootout with police on a Vermont back road.
The agency was also involved in July when 11-year-old Celina Cass disappeared in Stewartstown, N.H. A CBP helicopter was used to help search for her shortly after she was reported missing and dozens of federal agents joined before the girl was later found dead. The circumstances of her death have not been determined.
Even before 9/11, efforts were made to improve law enforcement communications along the border. The process accelerated after the attacks.
"We did a pretty good job with the resources we had," said John Pfeifer, head of the Border Patrol's Swanton Sector, who was critically wounded in the Drega shootout. Pfeifer oversaw his agency's efforts in the search for Celina. "There was effort back then, but today there is a much more timely response and a greater response. It's kind of a neat parallel."
© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
With retired firefighter Bob Beckwith standing next to him, President George W. Bush uses a bullhorn to address rescue workers Sept. 14, 2001, at Ground Zero, the site of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. White House photo by Eric Draper
Fmr. Mayor Rudy Giuliani
Chance Remains of WMD Attack on the USA
At Sunday’s 10th Anniversary ceremony of the September 11 terror attacks, musical icon Paul Simon performed a chilling and emotional tribute to those who lost their lives that day.
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Fmr. President George W. Bush
Invokes Words of Abraham Lincoln
Ground Zero Ceremony Commemorating 9/11
At this morning’s ceremony commemorating the 10th anniversary of September 11, President George W. Bush read the words of former President Abraham Lincoln, who he said “understood the cost of sacrifice, and reached out to console those in sorrow as best he could.”
Bush read a letter that Lincoln wrote to a mother who’d lost five sons in the Civil War. The letter read in part, “I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.”
Tulsa's ORU Pays To Tribute
To 9/11 Responders
Emily Baucum, News On 6
TULSA, Oklahoma -- People in Green Country paused Sunday to remember the terrorist attacks. At the BOK Center the City of Tulsa hosted a ceremony highlighting the hope that can come from the horrors of our darkest hour.
Tulsan s honored the fallen, but also celebrated how that day has brought us together.
From different races lifting their voices in song to different cultures praising above, all stood proud and tall before Old Glory.
Dr. Khalid Aly and his wife Lamiaa moved here from Egypt in 1955.
"Tulsa's our native home and country right now. This is home for us," Dr. Aly said.
Six years later, they remember when the world stood still and watched helplessly that September day.
"Really scary to see what was going on. I can still remember the image over and over of how the towers were," Lamiaa Aly said.
Most of their kids weren't even alive when America was under attack. Mohamed barely remembers.
"At the time I was about three years old," Mohamed Aly said.
He's now 13 and learning the details for the first time.
"I was reading about the 9/11 commemoration today in New York City and I was pretty amazed," he said. "Almost 3,000 casualties in all the plane attacks."
Khalid and Lamiaa say they've been lucky -- since 9/11, no one's treated them differently simply because they're Muslim, but they're raising their children in a world that's still dealing with differences.
"I remember one time at Boy Scout camp I was bullied because I'm Muslim, called a terrorist and stuff like that," Mohamed Aly said.
"There are bad people out there from every culture and from every religion. We have to learn how to cope with things when they happen," Lamiaa Aly said.
That's why a ceremony celebrating unity is an important way for America to move forward and the Aly family to honor the heroes of 9/11.
"As much as it was a bad thing there is always a good thing that can happen from bad things," Dr. Aly said.