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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
September 17, 2001

Mrs. Bush's Remarks at Memorial Service in Pennsylvania

Thank you, Governor Ridge, for those words of encouragement, and for your leadership during this time of sadness for your commonwealth and our country.

This has been a week of loss and heartache of a kind none of us could have ever imagined. What happened in New York City, in Washington, and here in Pennsylvania, caused deep suffering across our country. .

We are still grieving as details become known – and especially as we learn the names of the lost, the story of their deaths, and the story of each of their lives. All of us, as Americans, share in this grief.

The burden is greatest, however, for the families – like those of you who are with us today. America is learning the names, but you know the people. And you are the ones they thought of in the last moments of life. You are the ones they called, and prayed to see again. You are the ones they loved.

A poet wrote, “Love knows not its own depths until the hour of parting.” The loved ones we remember today knew – even in those horrible moments – that they were not truly alone, because your love was with them.

And I want each of you to know today that you are not alone. We cannot ease the pain, but this country stands by you. We will always remember what happened that day, and to whom it happened.

I know many of you have felt very directly the compassion of America, both in the communities where you live and in this community where we meet. And on behalf of my husband and the nation, I want to thank every person who has reached out to you with words of sympathy and acts of kindness.

In hours like this, we learn that our faith is an active faith – that we are called to serve and to care for one another – and to bring hope and comfort where there is despair and sorrow.

All of this is the work of the living. And as it begins, however long it lasts, we will always hold close to the memory of those who have been taken from you and from us.

One of last Tuesday’s victims, in his final message to his family, said that he loved them and would see them again. That brave man was a witness for the greatest hope of all – and the hope that unites us now. You grieve today, and the hurt will not soon go away. But that hope is real, and it is forever, just as the love you share with your loved ones is forever.

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