Across America, a day to mourn and pray
"God's signs are not always the ones we look for," Bush said.
"We learn in tragedy that his purposes are not always our own, yet the prayers of private suffering, whether in our homes or in this great cathedral, are known and heard and understood."
Bush was joined by all his living predecessors except an ailing Ronald Reagan. Also present were members of his Cabinet, Congress, the military, and firefighting battalions.
Graham offered consolation, comparing the foundation of the now-demolished World Trade Center to individuals' grounding in God.
"Yes, the foundation has been attacked, buildings destroyed, lives lost, but now we have a choice whether to implode and disintegrate emotionally and spiritually as a people and a nation or whether we choose to become stronger through all of this struggle to rebuild on a solid foundation," he preached. "That foundation is our trust in God."
Graham and other clergy prayed for wisdom for Bush and his staff as they decide how to respond to the terrorist attacks. They also remarked on the flag-waving, candle-holding vigils that have dotted the nation and the globe since Tuesday.
Patriotism mixed with prayer across the nation yesterday.
At dusk, the flicker of candles illuminated city streets, as people responded to a call for unity spread on the Internet.
In places, the day's ceremonies felt like funerals. In others, they were like pep rallies for a wounded nation.
• Mourners at St. Paul's Church in Concord, N.H., called out the names of loved ones missing or hurt in the destruction. Outside, a crowd softly sang "Amazing Grace."
• Thousands in Chicago's Daley Center Plaza waved American flags and chanted "USA! USA!"
• On Manhattan's upper west side, hundreds met at a Mexican restaurant, then spilled into the street and cheered and sang "God Bless America" as military jets flew overhead.
• Cincinnati police had to shut down two streets in the heart of downtown when thousands of people united to attend a service in that city, which was torn by racial violence just months ago.
• The bells in Bristol, Tenn., tolled for fallen firefighters.
• Disneyland, which calls itself "the happiest place on earth," turned somber at noon as park guests and employees stopped to remember those lost in the terror attacks.
• At the Oklahoma City National Memorial, site of the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, several hundred people sang "God Bless America" under an American elm that survived the blast.
• On the Las Vegas Strip, several marquees that usually advertise entertainers' names instead featured flags with the message "God Bless America" or "One Nation Under God."
• On the Mexican border, U.S. customs and immigration agents stopped traffic headed into the United States for one minute to commemorate the victims.
People wore their patriotism creatively. A woman stitched American flags to her vest, then headed to a noon Mass in Newark, N.J. Office workers there carried small flags in shirt pockets. Others wore sweat shirts with stars and stripes.
"It makes you proud that we've got the support of the American people at a time when we might be on the brink of war," said Army reservist Joedy Cook, who attended the Cincinnati memorial in his Army fatigues.
A man walked up to Cook, thrust out his hand and told him, "Thank you for your service to our country." Cook said that happened a lot yesterday.
Sayeed Siddiqui, president of the Islamic Society of Greater Houston, addressed his comments at a memorial service to "fellow Americans." Muslims have been targets of revenge assaults since the attacks.
"God help us fight hate and change it with our hearts filled with compassion," Siddiqui said.
But around the country, others were more consumed by anger than sorrow.
"I'm supposed to be a Christian, but my prayers are for revenge," said Al Thompson, who attended a Mass at St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans.
"What's the saying? God may forgive them, but I never will."