D.C.: Remembering Pentagon Victims
Washington paid tribute on Monday night to the 189 people left dead or missing after a hijacked plane crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11. "This is a concert we never wanted to give, but we had to," said Michael Kaiser, president of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, which hosted the free concert that featured four choirs, three jazz musicians, two orchestras and an opera ensemble. Nearly 2,000 spectators gathered inside the center's chandelier-strung concert hall, while some 3,000 others squatted on the carpet in the foyer, watching the show on a giant TV screen, reports Reuters. Audience donations to a fund to help the families of the victims totaled more than $20,000. First lady Laura Bush received two standing ovations as she took the stage to encourage Americans to celebrate life in the wake of this month's tragedy. "The events of the past two weeks have deepened our appreciation of life itself, how precious it can be," she said. "Now we begin to return to good things, to things in life that bring us happiness and peace." Sen. Edward Kennedy led a salute to the families of those that died at the Pentagon and spoke of the role music could play in coming to terms with grief. "The arts give expression to the deepest of human emotions that are beyond words," he said. Conductor Leonard Slatkin topped the bill, alongside flutist James Galway and folk singer Mary Chapin Carpenter.
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