Office of the Press Secretary

September 12, 2001


The Pentagon

5:53 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: I am so grateful to the people who are working here. We’re here to say thanks to not only the workers on this site, but the workers who are doing the same work in New York City. I want to say thanks to the folks who have given blood to the Red Cross. I want to say thanks for the hundreds of thousands of Americans who pray for the victims and their families.

Secretary Rumsfeld told me, when I talked to him, that he felt the blast shake the Pentagon — even though he was on the other side of the building, the building rocked. And now I know why.

Coming here makes me sad, on the one hand; it also makes me angry. Our country will, however, not be cowed by terrorists, by people who don’t share the same values we share, by people who are willing to destroy people’s lives because we embrace freedom. The nation mourns, but our government will go on, the country will function. We are on high alert for possible activity.

But coming here confirms what the Secretary and I both know, that this is a great nation. People here working hard prove it; people out here working their hearts out to answer families’ questions, to remove the rubble and debris from this office. I want to thank everybody not only on this site, but all across America, for responding so generously, so kindly, in their prayers, in their contributions of love and their willingness to help in any way they can.

END 5:55 P.M. EDT