After Prayers, Bush Visits New York

updated 09/15/2001 at 12:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/15/2001 12:41PM

Friday morning in Washington, President George W. Bush, joined by his predecessors Bill Clinton, his father George Bush, Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford, as well as by his bitter election rival of last year Al Gore, helped lead a service of prayer and mourning at Washington's National Cathedral. After brief words by clergymen Imam Muzammil Siddiqi and Rabbi Joshua Haberman, evangelist Rev. Billy Graham delivered the main sermon, rallying Americans of all ethnic backgrounds, religions and political backgrounds to band together and call on help from the Almighty. "We're facing a new kind of enemy, we're involved in a new kind of warfare, and we need the help of the spirit of God," Graham said. After the service, President Bush headed to New York where his first stop was a helicopter tour of the blasted-out remains of the World Trade Center, site the Tuesday's deadly attacks. New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and state Gov. George Pataki accompanied the chief executive on Marine One. From the air, Bush surveyed the wreckage before landing at the Wall Street heliport, where he exchanged good words with rescue workers and then went on to inspect the destruction first hand. Clutching an American flag in one hand and speaking through a bullhorn that he held in the other, Bush said to the dedicated firefighters who've been on the job since Tuesday, "Thank you for your hard work. Thank you for making the nation proud." Around him, the crowd was shouting, "USA! USA!" Responded Bush: "I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon." Security was airtight around the chief executive, all through the area near Ground Zero, in fact. National Guardsmen stood in clusters all around Wall Street. Any of those few residents of New York's financial district, adjacent to the devastation, who happened to be on sidewalks at the time of the presidential visit were asked by police to show some sort of photo identification as proof that they should be in the area. That included this PEOPLE.com reporter, who was simply out walking his dog -- who tried to jump into a police car. Life still goes on in New York City.

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