September 11 Anniversary
September 11, 2002
Good evening. A long year has passed since
enemies attacked our country. We've seen the images so
many times they are seared on our souls, and remembering
the horror, reliving the anguish, re-imagining the terror,
is hard -- and painful.
President George W. Bush address the nation from Ellis
Island in New York City on the one year anniversary of
the terror attacks on September 11. For those who lost
loved ones, it's been a year of sorrow, of empty places,
of newborn children who will never know their fathers here
on earth. For members of our military, it's been a year
of sacrifice and service far from home. For all Americans,
it has been a year of adjustment, of coming to terms with
the difficult knowledge that our nation has determined
enemies, and that we are not invulnerable to their attacks.
Yet, in the events that have challenged us, we have also
seen the character that will deliver us. We have seen the
greatness of America in airline passengers who defied their
hijackers and ran a plane into the ground to spare the
lives of others. We've seen the greatness of America in
rescuers who rushed up flights of stairs toward peril.
And we continue to see the greatness of America in the
care and compassion our citizens show to each other.
September 11, 2001 will always be a fixed point in the
life of America. The loss of so many lives left us to examine
our own. Each of us was reminded that we are here only
for a time, and these counted days should be filled with
things that last and matter: love for our families, love
for our neighbors, and for our country; gratitude for life
and to the Giver of life.
We resolved a year ago to honor every last person lost.
We owe them remembrance and we owe them more. We owe them,
and their children, and our own, the most enduring monument
we can build: a world of liberty and security made possible
by the way America leads, and by the way Americans lead
The attack on our nation was also attack on the ideals
that make us a nation. Our deepest national conviction
is that every life is precious, because every life is the
gift of a Creator who intended us to live in liberty and
equality. More than anything else, this separates us from
the enemy we fight. We value every life; our enemies value
none -- not even the innocent, not even their own. And
we seek the freedom and opportunity that give meaning and
value to life.
There is a line in our time, and in every time, between
those who believe all men are created equal, and those
who believe that some men and women and children are expendable
in the pursuit of power. There is a line in our time, and
in every time, between the defenders of human liberty and
those who seek to master the minds and souls of others.
Our generation has now heard history's call, and we will
America has entered a great struggle that tests our strength,
and even more our resolve. Our nation is patient and steadfast.
We continue to pursue the terrorists in cities and camps
and caves across the earth. We are joined by a great coalition
of nations to rid the world of terror. And we will not
allow any terrorist or tyrant to threaten civilization
with weapons of mass murder. Now and in the future, Americans
will live as free people, not in fear, and never at the
mercy of any foreign plot or power.
This nation has defeated tyrants and liberated death camps,
raised this lamp of liberty to every captive land. We have
no intention of ignoring or appeasing history's latest
gang of fanatics trying to murder their way to power. They
are discovering, as others before them, the resolve of
a great country and a great democracy. In the ruins of
two towers, under a flag unfurled at the Pentagon, at the
funerals of the lost, we have made a sacred promise to
ourselves and to the world: we will not relent until justice
is done and our nation is secure. What our enemies have
begun, we will finish.
I believe there is a reason that history has matched this
nation with this time. America strives to be tolerant and
just. We respect the faith of Islam, even as we fight those
whose actions defile that faith. We fight, not to impose
our will, but to defend ourselves and extend the blessings
We cannot know all that lies ahead. Yet, we do know that
God had placed us together in this moment, to grieve together,
to stand together, to serve each other and our country.
And the duty we have been given -- defending America and
our freedom -- is also a privilege we share.
We're prepared for this journey. And our prayer tonight
is that God will see us through, and keep us worthy.
Tomorrow is September the 12th. A milestone is passed,
and a mission goes on. Be confident. Our country is strong.
And our cause is even larger than our country. Ours is
the cause of human dignity; freedom guided by conscience
and guarded by peace. This ideal of America is the hope
of all mankind. That hope drew millions to this harbor.
That hope still lights our way. And the light shines in
the darkness. And the darkness will not overcome it.
May God bless America.
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