"Music has been called the speech of the angels, and it brings special comfort now to our nation," First Lady Laura Bush told more than 2,500 people gathered at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.,

"Music has been called the speech of the angels, and it brings special comfort now to our nation," First Lady Laura Bush told more than 2,500 people gathered at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., last night (Sept. 24). "A Concert for America" -- featuring singer/songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter, flutist James Galway, and opera singer Frederica von Stade -- benefited the United Way's relief fund.

"Tonight we celebrate through music the great manifestations of human endeavor as a memorial to those who suffered from the worst of human deed," said Michael Kaiser, president of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. "This is a concert we never wanted to give, but we had to."

About 550 seats were set aside for family members of victims of the Sept. 11 attack on the Pentagon. Lines began forming more than two hours before the concert, and hundreds watched the performance on huge screens in the center's Grand Foyer.

"I believe that the arts can heal and help people grieve and unite," said Ana Clark, 62, of Washington, D.C. She said the concert was "more beautiful than I could have imagined."

Since the attacks two weeks ago, people across the country have flooded New York with canned goods, toiletries and food -- so much that relief workers are struggling to manage it all.

"Through this, our entire nation has come together, answering grief and adversity with kindness and courage," the first lady said. "My husband and I are proud of our fellow Americans and the spirit of giving that we've seen in this time of sadness and loss."

The 90-minute concert, broadcast live on the Internet and local radio stations, will air nationwide Friday (Sept. 28) on PBS.


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