BOSTON – Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry (search) on Saturday remembered "ordinary men and women who became heroes at a moment's notice" when terrorists attacked the United States.
"While Sept. 11 was the worst day we have ever seen, it brought out the best in all of us," Kerry told families of Massachusetts victims during a memorial at the Boston Opera House (search).
The two hijacked planes that crashed at the World Trade Center originated at Boston'sLogan Airport (search). Victims of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon included nearly 200 people who either lived in Massachusetts or had ties to the state.
Kerry offered comfort to the families with words from the Book of Psalms: "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning."
"Hour after hour," Kerry told them, "you've found hope and comfort and strength by the love of those around you, by the new family that you became part of and by the quiet grace of God. And for that, we are all grateful."
The Democratic presidential nominee honored the good works done in memory of those who died in the terrorist strikes that killed nearly 3,000 people. He delivered the same message in the weekly Democratic radio address.
"In the years ahead, we will share its lessons with our children and grandchildren," he said. "We will tell them that on Sept. 11, ordinary men and women became heroes at a moment's notice — and so can you. We will tell them that we were strong because we took care of each other — and so can you."
At 8:46 a.m. — the moment three years ago that American Airlines Flight 11 hit the north tower — Kerry was visiting a memorial to Massachusetts victims. He laid white lilies at the memorial, located in Boston's Public Garden, then attended a private breakfast with families of the victims before the memorial service.
Kerry took a more political turn on the anniversary when, in a statement released Saturday by his campaign, he called on President Bush to release a 2001 report by the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board that reportedly recommended a major restructuring of the U.S. intelligence community, including establishing a single intelligence director.
The board's chairman, retired Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft, was national security adviser under Bush's father and President Ford.
"The White House has held this important report under wraps for nearly three years while resisting efforts to strengthen the intelligence services that are essential to preventing terrorist attacks and protecting our nation," Kerry said in the statement. "What is the White House hiding? Why shouldn't the Congress and the American people be able to fully consider General Scowcroft's recommendations?"
On Friday, Kerry said he met privately with families of victims from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The campaign wouldn't say how many people were at the meeting.
"They looked at me and every single one of them said, 'Our husbands didn't die on Sept. 11 because of what happened with Iraq,'" Kerry told thousands of supporters Friday night at the fairgrounds in Allentown, Pa.
"What happened with Al Qaeda, with Usama bin Laden in Afghanistan?" he asked. "And what George W. Bush has done has tried to scare America, to try and scare Americans and make you believe that one is the other and the other is the same."