Marylanders face aftermath with resolve

Dozen residents added to list of dead, missing as state combed for clues

`The best place in the world'

Terrorism Strikes America

Maryland

September 14, 2001|By Michael James and Gail Gibson | Michael James and Gail Gibson,SUN STAFF

Nearly a dozen Marylanders were added yesterday to the lists of the dead or missing, a U.S. Navy missile destroyer stood guard on the Chesapeake Bay, bomb threats continued in Baltimore and nearly 200 FBI agents combed the state investigating a possible link to Tuesday's terrorist plot.

The latest day of extraordinary activity and unforgettable images seemed to drive home once again that Maryland, as well as everywhere else, has been knocked askew by the shock waves of devastating suicide attacks in New York and Virginia.

Yet many Marylanders - even those whose family members are dead or missing - continued to have hope for the country.

"I just want it to be known that my husband would not want something like this to disrupt our country," said Betty Woods, wife of Marvin R. Woods, a 58-year-old communications manager from St. Mary's County. Marvin Woods, who works at the Pentagon, and 125 other people at the military complex remain unaccounted for.

"He would want everyone to be strong and to know that this was the best place in the world to live in," Woods said.

Parts return to normal

Some aspects of Maryland life did begin returning to normal yesterday. Air travel resumed at Baltimore-Washington International Airport. Gov. Parris N. Glendening lifted the state of emergency he imposed to allow aid to be sent to terror-ravaged areas. And the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra began its season last night with "The Star Spangled Banner" and a Beethoven concerto.

"Beethoven is very hopeful music; it is my form of prayer," said Emanuel Ax, a piano soloist from New York who is performing with the orchestra. "I am not a fireman or a rescue worker, but it is my attempt to try and provide comfort."

But there were still surreal moments yesterday, such as military planes descending on Anne Arundel County, where a confused pilot of a single-engine plane returned to the skies before the no-fly ban was lifted.

Grim reminders of the attacks - which have killed nearly two dozen Marylanders - aren't far away.

Among those added to the list was a newly married 1998 Naval Academy graduate from Columbia who worked in intelligence in the Pentagon. A Navy contractor from Upper Marlboro who helped coach the St. Mary's-Ryken softball team. A retired Verizon Communications worker, and Baltimore native, flying for the first time when United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in western Pennsylvania.

Patricia A. Cushing, 69, was flying to San Francisco, her first flight on a commercial airplane, said her nephew, Steve I. Hasenei of Columbia.

"She's been talking about this trip for a year," Hasenei said. "She's never been outside the East Coast. ... She talked about going over the Golden Gate."

A large investigation

The huge international investigation of Tuesday's terrorist attacks has included intensive work in Maryland, which is under close scrutiny in part because of its proximity to Washington and New York and military installations.

FBI agents across the region were conducting interviews and following leads that have poured into the bureau's field office in Woodlawn.

Two federal prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Baltimore have been assigned to work directly with local FBI agents, a sign that local investigators could also be preparing search warrants or subpoenas to bring witnesses before a federal grand jury.

At a briefing yesterday, Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller said investigators are trying to learn the hijackers' movements and contacts in recent months. FBI officials and federal prosecutors in Baltimore declined to comment specifically on their work here.

"We're working with the FBI, but I really can't say what we're doing," said Maryland U.S. Attorney Stephen M. Schenning.

Special Agent Peter A. Gulotta Jr., a spokesman for the Baltimore FBI office, said only that almost all of the 200 agents assigned to the agency's combined Maryland and Delaware operations are working on the terrorist investigation.

"We've got our people out there working, like every other field office" in the country, he said.

The investigation also hastened the interim appointment of Thomas M. DiBiagio as the U.S. attorney for Maryland. DiBiagio, nominated for the post last week by the White House, is scheduled to be sworn in Monday morning.

Demonstrations of grief

State officials announced that all state offices would observe five minutes of silence at noon today in memory of the victims. Glendening called for churches and government buildings with bells to toll them at 12:05 p.m. for one minute "as a demonstration of our unity as a nation."

Other demonstrations of the nation's grief are planned. Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley is expected to join area clergy at noon today at War Memorial Plaza on Gay Street for an interfaith prayer service to remember Tuesday's victims.

Glendening and Attorney General J. Joseph Curran also issued statements warning gasoline retailers not to use the terrorist actions as an excuse for excessive price increases.

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