Candidates Suspend Campaigns for 9/11

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WASHINGTON - Today, America marks the seventh anniversary of the deadliest terrorist attacks in our history.

President Bush observed a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m. when the first plane hit the World Trade Center in New York City.

Is America winning the war on terror? Watch more from Quin Hillyer, with the Washington Examiner, following this report.

Both John McCain and Barack Obama abandoned their quest for the White House to join Americans in marking the 9/11 anniversary.

And both suspended all TV ads critical of each other for the day.

McCain was scheduled to speak briefly at a ceremony near Shanksville, Penn., where passengers forced a jet down before terrorists could use it to hit their target.

The ceremony includes a 14-foot-high, 3,000-pound cross-shaped segment of the North Tower from the World Trade Center. Hundreds of bikers recently escorted it to the Shanksville site.

"Who would ever think that people would be touching it. It's like the Arc of the Covenant. It's unbelievable," a bystander said.

In the afternoon, Obama and McCain will appear together at Ground Zero in New York.

The candidates said they wanted to do it in thanks to all of the emergency responders who served during and after the attacks, as well as the troops still fighting to defend America.

The campaigns said in a statement that "We will put aside politics and come together to renew that unity, to honor the memory of each and every American who died, and to grieve with the families and friends who lost loved ones."

And President Bush is dedicating a memorial at the Pentagon that has 184 benches -- one for each life lost there that day.

"What I find that helps ground me back is when the families come out and see how appreciative they are and how happy they are to see this place," said Craig Atkins, the project manager for the memorial. "And the fact that it gives them potentially a little closure from September 11."

Meanwhile, the hunt is intensifying for the man behind the attacks -- mostly from above. U.S. predator drones have already carried out 11 hellfire missile strikes this year in the tribal regions of western Pakistan, where Osama bin Laden and his top lieutenants are believed to be hiding.

The operations promise to pick up even more speed as President Bush's final term in office winds down.

Intelligence officials say they're concentrating on a list of top-ranking al Qaeda leaders who've been sighted recently, in hopes that they lead back to bin Laden.

But today here in America, the focus is on the victims of 9/11. And the heroes who helped save lives.

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Erick Stakelbeck

Erick Stakelbeck

CBN News Reporter

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