By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated September 22, 2001 11:51 AM

When President Bush met with the families of fallen rescue workers within the shadow of the rubble of the World Trade Center just days after the tragedy, Arlene Howard pressed a police shield into his hand and asked him to remember all the people who died. It had belonged to her son, George Howard. “He said he was honored,” Howard recalled. “Then he told me, ‘We’re going to get them.’ ” It was on Thursday night of this week that the president displayed the badge during his address to the nation and said it was a symbol of courage that he would carry with him always. “It is my reminder of lives that ended, and a task that does not end,” he said. The president’s speech came the day after Howard had buried her son. “Now,” she said on Friday, “everybody in the world knows that my son and his police and fireman buddies, and all those other people, didn’t die in vain.” Officer Howard, 44, a cop for 16 years and the father of two, was off-duty on Sept. 11, but had rushed to the World Trade Center when the first tower collapsed. “We were just delighted and overjoyed when he mentioned George’s name,” Howard said of the president’s speech. “It was marvelous.”