America 'Saw Evil' in Attacks on New York, Pentagon

By Scott Hogenson | July 7, 2008 | 8:19 PM EDT

( - President Bush Tuesday night reassured the nation following the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, saying the United States and its citizens "saw evil."

Speaking from the Oval Office at the White House, Bush said the federal government would be operating "without interruption," on Wednesday, and said that emergency services crews had been mustered in response to the attacks.

"The functions of our government continue without interruption," said Bush. "Federal agencies in Washington which had to be evacuated (Tuesday) are re-opening for essential personnel tonight, and will be open for business tomorrow."

Much of official Washington, D.C. and large portions of Manhattan were evacuated after hijacked jetliners were crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in a coordinated attack.

The two planes that crashed into the twin towers of the trade center caused the collapse of the two 110-story buildings, and a third airliner gouged a gaping hole in the west side of the Pentagon.

"Today, our nation saw evil, the very worse of human nature. And we responded with the best of America," said Bush.

Bush also sought to calm any economic fears created by the disruption of commerce as a result of the attack. "Our financial institutions remain strong, and the American economy will be open for business as well," Bush said.

The president vowed to employ the "full resources" of the United States in finding out who was responsible for the attacks, saying that nations who provide cover for terrorist operations might also be held accountable.

"We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them," Bush said.

Bush said the terrorist attack failed to shake American resolve, saying "Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shattered steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve."

The president went on to quote the Old Testament Book of Psalms, and hoped that grieving Americans would "be comforted by a power greater than any of us, spoken through the ages in Psalm 23. 'Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for you are with me.'"

"This is a day when all Americans, from every walk of life, united in our resolve for justice and peace," said Bush. "None of us will ever forget this day, yet we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world."