Bush Marks 9/11 Anniversary by Urging Unity in Terror War
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 11, 2006 President Bush today marked the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on the United States tonight by calling on the nation to remember those lost that day and to unite in moving forward to win the war on terror.
Bush, speaking in the Oval Office after earlier visiting all three sites scarred by the Sept. 11 attacks, recounted the painful events of that day but also the extraordinary courage he said ordinary citizens displayed.
“On this day, we remember the innocent who lost their lives,” he said following solemn ceremonies at New York’s World Trade Center, in Shanksville, Pa., and at the Pentagon. “And we pay tribute to those who gave their lives so that others might live.”
The United States resolves to honor all those lost and seeks a lasting memorial to them in a “safer, more hopeful world,” he said.
The United States has learned much about the enemy that attacked on Sept. 11 and recognizes it as a global network of extremists driven by a totalitarian ideology that hates all that America stands for, Bush said.
And while actions taken in the United States since that day have prevented another similar attack on the homeland, Bush insisted that the terrorists “have not been idle” and haven’t given up their goals.
“We face an enemy determined to bring death and suffering into our homes,” he said. “America did not ask for this war, and every American wishes it was over. So do I. But the war is not over, and it will not be over until either we or the extremists emerge victorious.”
The United States has made headway in confronting terrorists and those who harbor or support them, Bush said. “We helped drive the Taliban from power in Afghanistan. We put al Qaeda on the run and killed or captured most of those who planned the Sept. 11 attacks, including the man believed to be the mastermind, Khalid Sheik Mohammed.”
While Osama bin Laden and other terrorists remain in hiding, Bush said, the United States’ message to them is clear: “No matter how long it takes, America will find you, and we will bring you to justice.”
The president said the United States must maintain its resolve to follow through with what he acknowledged is not an easy fight. “If we do not defeat these enemies now, we will leave our children to face a Middle East overrun by terrorist states and radical dictators armed with nuclear weapons,” he said.
The stakes could not be higher, Bush said, calling the struggle way more than a clash of civilizations as some have suggested, but rather, “a struggle for civilization.”
“We are fighting to maintain the way of life enjoyed by free nations,” he said. “And we are fighting for the possibility that good and decent people across the Middle East can raise up societies based on freedom and tolerance and personal dignity.”
By working to support democratic leaders and reformers in parts of the world ruled by tyranny, the United States is helping to offer a path away from radicalism and extremism, the president said. When the people of the Middle East see a future of hope and opportunity for their children, the appeal of radicalism will decline “and we will leave our children with a better and safer world,” he said.
Bush called on Americans to observe the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks by rededicating themselves to this cause.
“Our nation has endured trials, and we face a difficult road ahead,” he said. “Winning this war will require the determined efforts of a unified country. So we must put aside our differences and work together to meet the test that history has given us. We will defeat our enemies; we will protect our people; and we will lead the 21st century into a shining age of human liberty.”