AP. 10 April 2003. Thousands Back Iraq War Near Ground Zero.
NEW YORK -- Thousands of construction workers and firefighters packed a noontime rally at ground zero Thursday in support of the war in Iraq which, to many of them, began right there on Sept. 11, 2001.
The rally stretched for several blocks north from the World Trade Center site. Carpenters, electricians and firefighters carried American flags and homemade signs and chanted "USA! USA!"
Police and organizers estimated the crowd at more than 15,000. The rally was sponsored by the Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York.
Many speakers and participants described the war as a natural outcome of the World Trade Center attack, drawing little distinction between the terrorist group al-Qaida and Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
"The war started right here on Sept. 11, 2001," Gov. George Pataki said.
A sea of hard hats and red-white-and-blue bandanas stretched along West Street from the trade center site.
Carpenter Jimmy Nolan said "We got tired of those protesters always arguing against the war."