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Attack On Pentagon Marked


People are still gathering at the Pentagon. That ceremony is set to begin soon. As the ceremony starts - shortly after, there will be another moment of silence in anticipation honor of the observance of the time that American Airlines Flight 77 struck the Pentagon.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We welcome you to the Pentagon Observance Ceremony, in remembrance of the 184 lost at the Pentagon and on American Airlines Flight 77, on September 11th, 2001. Please stand and welcome the vice president of the United States, Joe Biden; the secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta; and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen.

CORNISH: You're listening to live, special coverage of the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. Right now, we are actually listening to the opening of the ceremony at the Pentagon in Virginia. Vice President Joe Biden is headed to the stage.

MAN: Please remain standing for the presentation of colors, the performance of the National Anthem, and the invocation delivered by the United State's Army chief of shaplains, Major General Donald Rutherford.

CORNISH: Also on the stage, we see Admiral Mike Mullen.

TOM GJELTEN: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff ,and Leon Panetta, the new Defense secretary, having recently taken that position after being director of the CIA; along with Vice President Joe Biden. And the colors are being carried to the stage now. The flags, of course, the presentation of colors is a long and very important tradition at military ceremonies. And this will be followed, then, by the National Anthem.

CORNISH: Some of the other events expected at this ceremony - there will be a laying of wreaths, and a performance of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic."


UNIDENTIFIED SINGER: (Singing) Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light, what so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming? Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight, o'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming. And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there. Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave, o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

CORNISH: That was the National Anthem being performed at the Pentagon, where the ceremonies begin in honor of the September 11th attacks. On stage, Vice President Joe Biden, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Right now, the Honor Guard and presentation of the colors.

MAN: Lord, gather us in this moment today. We covet your presence. Remind us that truly, you are our hope for years to come. We ask this and pray, as always, to your holy name. Amen.

CORNISH: And that was the U.S. Army chief of chaplains, Major General Donald Rutherford.



CORNISH: It's approximately 9:37. We're honoring a moment of silence in observance of American Airlines Flight 77, which struck the Pentagon 10 years ago today.


MILITARY CHORUS: (Singing) The Lord has promised good to me. His word my hope secures. He will my shield and portion be as long as life endures. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now I'm found, was blind but now I see.

MAN: Ladies and gentlemen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen.

CORNISH: No music can assuage, no tongue can express, no prayer alone may dampen the yearning that must fire yet inside you. Lives ended in this...

CORNISH: Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaking at the Pentagon ceremony in honor of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attack.

MULLEN: It's in the children and grandchildren with Major League dreams, the college degrees earned, the businesses started, the weddings celebrated, the charity given, and the love and the laughter shared. These are the things the terrorists could not eradicate. They could bring down the wall...

CORNISH: The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen.

MULLEN: The Scottish poet Thomas Campbell, in his poem "Hallowed Ground," tells us that to live in hearts we leave behind is not to die. Today, we stand on this hallowed ground to honor those who still live on in our hearts. But as we mark the end of this decade of war and remembrance, I hope we will also follow in Tara Feinberg's footsteps, heeding the better angels of our nature, never forgetting, being grateful for each moment, helping others and most of all, living life and living it well. That is victory. Thank you.


CORNISH: That's chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.