For many of us, it seems like only yesterday, when our great country came under attack. The horrific events on that day are still vivid in many our minds. It is truly a day that we will never forget. As we reflect on the 13th anniversary of September 11th, 2001, let us remember a man, who consoled a grieving nation, united a country, and answered the call of duty. An American President whose faith in God, found strength and courage amidst the rubble, and led a battle to the face of evil, to fight a war on terror. That man was President George W. Bush.
“Great tragedy has come to us, and we are meeting it with the best that is in our country, with courage and concern for others because this is America. This is who we are.”
As we look back to the morning of September 11th, we remember the horror as we watched smoke billow from the twin towers. Many of us witnessed the second plane as it hit the south tower of the WTC. We watched in disbelief as the towers fell and our brothers and sisters fled for their lives trying to escape the ashes and debris from the buildings that once graced the skies in the very heart of America. The anxiety we felt, not knowing what would happen next, overwhelmed us as we heard the news that more planes had disappeared from the radar. We soon learned that a plane crashed into the Pentagon and another crashed into a field in the small town of Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Our great country was under attack. We were at war, right here on our own soil. It is said that God has a plan for each of us. He will test us, some harder than others it seems. But for whatever reason, President George W. Bush was put here, in this place… at this time.
“The action we take and the decisions we make in this decade will have consequences far into this century. If America shows weakness and uncertainty, the world will drift toward tragedy. That will not happen on my watch.”
Here are some highlights of the strong and decisive leadership that emerged from President Bush, not only on that day, but throughout the days to follow.
Who can forget the anguish on President Bush’s face in his first speech to the nation after the terrorist attacks on 9/11. He asked the nation to join him in prayer for the victims and their families.
And on the eve of September 11, 2001, President Bush once again addressed the nation, “Tonight I ask for your prayers for all those who grieve, for the children whose worlds have been shattered, for all whose safety and security has been threatened. And I pray that they will be comforted by a power greater than any of us spoken through the ages in Psalm 23: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me. This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace. America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time. None of us will ever forget this day, yet we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world.”
We also remember when Congress came forward as one, no Republicans, no Democrats, united together on the Capitol steps. After gathering to address the nation, they paused for a moment of silence. Then suddenly, an impromptu rendition of “God Bless America,” broke out as they embraced each other trying to find comfort from all that occurred on this fateful day.
One of my favorite memories of President Bush’s leadership happened on his visit to Ground Zero, shortly after the attacks. President Bush stood on the rubble of the World Trade Center and addressed the fire fighters, police officers and emergency workers that were there at the scene. Someone handed him a bull horn as they wanted to hear from the President. It wasn’t planned, it just happened. Some in the crowd were yelling that they could not hear the President as he was having a little trouble with the bull horn. In which Bush replied, “I can hear you, the rest of the world can hear you and the people that knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.”
Also that year, the New York Yankees invited the President to throw the ceremonial 1st pitch in game three of the World Series. The President was met with cheers and thousands of American flags were waving as he took his walk to the mound. Americans were united that day, rallying around him, putting partisan politics aside. And after his perfect pitch over the mound, the crowd erupted chanting, “U.S.A, U.S.A!”
Bette Midler was also a guest at one of the games in the World Series that year. This video also reflects the pain and anguish on so many faces as she sings, “The Wind Beneath My Wings,” in tribute to those that lost their lives.
Once again, the unity of the American people could be seen and felt as we mourned the loss of our fellow brothers and sisters. That unity in our hearts from a leader who not only comforted us, but had the courage to confront the enemy that attacked us on that day.
We all know the rest of the story. With bipartisan support, President Bush led us into war to combat the enemy. We grew weary in our fight as we lost men and women fighting in both Afghanistan and Iraq. And it didn’t take long for us to become divided. Elections will do that. Bitter partisan politics tend to cause short-term memory for some of our politicians, especially in a quest for power. Let’s not forget President Bush’s State of the Union speech following the terrorist attacks on January 29, 2002. Once again, you will see the unity of our elected officials as they applaud President Bush for his leadership and decisive action leading up to the War on Terror.
Something tells me that history will be kind to President Bush. In fact, it already is as we are facing the same enemy… only with a different leader. President Bush once said, “I would like to be remembered as a guy who had a set of priorities, and was willing to live by those priorities. In terms of accomplishments, my biggest accomplishment is that I kept the country safe amidst a real danger.”
At the end of his speeches, President Bush would make reference to the man who would guide him. “May God bless the United States of America.” Well I believe that He truly did bless us on that day, Mr. President. Remember that God has a plan for each of us. Thank-you for answering your call.