09/10/2002 at 01:00 AM EDT
Leading off a week of remembrance, Hollywood stars and musicians such as Chris Isaak, Enrique Iglesias, and James Earl Jones joined President Bush and first lady Laura Bush, as well as Secretary of State Colin Powell and his wife, Alma, Monday at Washington, D.C.'s Kennedy Center.
The Kennedy Center event, called the "Concert for America," was a musical tribute to mark Wednesday's first anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. NBC will broadcast highlights of the concert Wednesday night.
"Today we mourn the lost, honor the living and celebrate the character of our country and the creativity of our people," the president told the audience, according to Reuters.
Isaak compared the gathering to putting flowers on a grave.
"I don't know what music does, or what exactly singing or getting people together does," the singer, 46, told reporters before the show. "But it's something we do, and I can't think of much else we could do."
Reba McIntyre, Alan Jackson, Al Green and India.Arie were also among the performers. Jones and Angela Bassett delivered dramatic readings.
Laura Bush served as honorary chairwoman of the event, which was the second "Concert for America." The first took place at the Kennedy Center last Sept. 24.