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Bush greets Olympic flame in Washington

Olympic Torch
Elizabeth Anderson Howell, who lost her husband in the September 11 attacks, carried the Olympic torch to the White House.  

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Two runners affected by the September 11 terrorist attacks carried the Olympic torch to and from the White House Saturday, as President Bush praised them for their "courage and compassion."

Wearing a white cowboy hat and boots, President Bush greeted the Olympic Flame at the South Lawn of the White House grounds Saturday morning and lit the Olympic cauldron.

"This flame stands for the skill and dedication of friendly competition," Bush said.

The torch was handed to Bush by Elizabeth Anderson Howell, 26, who carried the flame in honor of her husband Brady Howell, who died in the terrorist attack on the Pentagon at the age of 25.

"Her participation in the torch relay represents the strength of so many families after September the 11th, and Liz, our nation prays with you during this holiday season," Bush said.

After his address, the President comforted Howell, a Utah native, who was visibly emotional during the ceremony.

George Washington University student Eric Jones ran the torch from the White House, as it continued its cross-country trek, on its way to Baltimore, Maryland. Jones worked for four straight days at the Pentagon immediately after the attack and then drove to New York City where he spent 10 days volunteering at the World Trade Center.

Bush will be on hand to light the Olympic cauldron as it makes its way to Salt Lake City, Utah, in February for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.


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