Bush Tells Americans 'Be Confident'
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sep. 12, 2002 At the end of a long day, President George W. Bush put the events of Sept. 11 into focus for America, saying the terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon were also attacks "on the ideals that make our nation."
Bush spoke from Ellis Island in New York Harbor. The island, gateway for millions of immigrants to the United States, lies next to Liberty Island. The Statue of Liberty dominates the view from Ellis Island. Last year, the Twin Towers did.
"There's a line in our time and every time between those who believe that all men are created equal and those who believe that some men and women and children are expendable in the pursuit of power," Bush said. "There's a line in our time and 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 answer it."
The president said Americans owe remembrance to those lost in the attacks. "We owe them and their children and our own the most enduring monument that we can build -- a world of liberty and security made possible by the way America leads and by the way Americans lead our lives," he said.
Bush began his public day with a minute of silence on the White House lawn at the time American Airlines Flight 11 hit the World Trade Center last year. He traveled across the Potomac to participate in the Pentagon remembrance and then to Shanksville, Pa., where ill-fated United Airlines Flight 93 plummeted into a field.
(The passengers and crew of Flight 93, knowing terrorists had hijacked airliners for attacks in New York and Washington, assumed the men who'd just hijacked their plane and turned it toward Washington were on a similar suicide mission. It is widely thought those in the cabin were fighting the hijackers for control as the plane crashed.)
The president ended the day in New York City. He visited Ground Zero and met with families of those lost at the World Trade Centers before moving to Ellis Island for his speech to the nation.
Bush stayed in New York and is scheduled to address the United Nations today about the danger Iraq poses to the civilized world. Last night, he spoke a bit about that threat during his address.
"We continue to pursue the terrorists in cities, in camps, in caves across the world," he said. "We are joined by a great coalition of nations to rid the world of terror, and we will not allow any nation 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."
Bush also spoke of the changes in America since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. "For those who lost loved ones, this has been a year of sorrow and empty places, of newborn children who will never know their fathers here on Earth," he said. "For members of our military, it has 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 the nation has determined enemies and that we are not invulnerable to their attacks.
"Yet in the events that challenged us, we have also seen the character that will deliver us. We've 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 each other."
Bush ended his address telling Americans to "be confident." He said America is strong and stands for human dignity and 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."