American Rhetoric: Movie Speech

"DC 9/11 - Time Of Crisis" (2003)


President George W. Bush Address a Joint Session of the U.S. Congress


Mr. Speaker, President Pro Tempore, Members of Congress, and fellow Americans:

in the normal course of events, Presidents come to this Chamber to report on the State of the Union. Tonight, no such report is needed. It has already been delivered by the American people.

My fellow citizens, for the last nine days the entire world has seen for itself the state of our union -- and it is strong!

We have seen the courage of passengers who rushed terrorists to save others on the ground -- passengers like an exceptional man named Todd Beamer. And would you please help me welcome his wife, Lisa Beamer, here tonight.

We have seen the state of our union in the endurance of rescuers working past exhaustion.

We have seen the unfurling of flags, the lighting of candles, the giving of blood, the saying of prayers in English, Hebrew, and Arabic.

We have seen the decency of a loving and giving people who have made the grief of strangers their own.

Tonight, we are a country awakened to danger and called to defend freedom. Our grief has turned to anger and anger to resolution. Whether we bring our enemies to justice or bring justice to our enemies justice will be done.

We will not forget the citizens of 80 other nations who died with our own: dozens of Pakistanis; more than 130 Israelis; more than 250 citizens of India; men and women from El Salvador, Iran, Mexico, Canada, and Japan.

And hundreds of British citizens. America has no greater friend than that that of Great Britain. Thank you for coming, friend. [acknowledges British PM Tony Blair seated in the upper balcony]

Americans have many questions tonight. Who attacked our country? The evidence all points to a collection of loosely affiliated terrorist organizations known as al-Qaeda. They are to terror what the Mafia is to crime. But its goal is not making money; it is remaking the world and imposing its radical beliefs on people everywhere.

Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda -- but it does not end there. We have seen their kind before. They are the heirs of all the murderous ideologies of the 20th century. They follow the path of fascism and Nazism and totalitarianism -- and they will follow that path all the way to where it ends: in history's unmarked grave of discarded lies.

Every nation, every region now has a decision to make: Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.

Freedom and fear are at war. Our nation, this generation, will lift a dark threat of violence from our people and our future. We will rally the world to this cause by our efforts and by our courage. And we will not tire, and we will not falter, and we will not fail.

it is my hope that in the months and years ahead life will return almost to normal. Even grief recedes with time and grace.

But our resolve must not pass.

Each of us will remember what happened that day and to whom it happened. We'll remember the moment the news came -- where we were, what we were doing. Some will remember the image of a fire or a story of a rescue. Some will carry memories of a face and a voice gone forever.

And I will carry this: It is the police shield of a man named George Howard who died at the World Trade Center trying to save others. It was given to me by his mom, Arlene, as a proud memorial to her son. It is my reminder of lives that ended in a task that does not end.

In all that lies before us, may God grant us wisdom and may he watch over the United States of America.

Thank you.

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American Rhetoric.
HTML transcription by Michael E. Eidenmuller.