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President's Message

The following is a transcript from President George W. Bush's message given on September 14th, 2001. The message was presented during a prayer service at the National Cathedral in Washington.

We are here in the middle hour of our grief. So many have suffered so
great a loss, and today we express our nation's sorrow. We come before God
to pray for the missing and the dead, and for those who love them.

On Tuesday, our country was attacked with deliberate and massive
cruelty. We have seen the images of fire and ashes, and bent steel.

Now come the names, the list of casualties we are only beginning to
read. They are the names of men and women who began their day at a desk
or in an airport, busy with life. They are the names of people who faced
death, and in their last moments called home to say, be brave, and I love

They are the names of passengers who defied their murderers, and
prevented the murder of others on the ground. They are the names of men
and women who wore the uniform of the United States, and died at their

They are the names of rescuers, the ones whom death found running up
the stairs and into the fires to help others. We will read all these
names. We will linger over them, and learn their stories, and many
Americans will weep.

To the children and parents and spouses and families and friends of
the lost, we offer the deepest sympathy of the nation. And I assure you,
you are not alone.

Just three days removed from these events, Americans do not yet have
the distance of history. But our responsibility to history is already
clear: to answer these attacks and rid the world of evil.

War has been waged against us by stealth and deceit and murder. This
nation is peaceful, but fierce when stirred to anger. This conflict was
begun on the timing and terms of others. It will end in a way, and at an
hour, of our choosing.

Our purpose as a nation is firm. Yet our wounds as a people are
recent and unhealed, and lead us to pray. In many of our prayers this
week, there is a searching, and an honesty. At St. Patrick's Cathedral in
New York on Tuesday, a woman said, "I prayed to God to give us a sign that
He is still here." Others have prayed for the same, searching hospital to
hospital, carrying pictures of those still missing.

God's signs are not always the ones we look for. We learn in tragedy
that his purposes are not always our own. Yet the prayers of private
suffering, whether in our homes or in this great cathedral, are known and
heard, and understood.

There are prayers that help us last through the day, or endure the
night. There are prayers of friends and strangers, that give us strength
for the journey. And there are prayers that yield our will to a will
greater than our own.

This world He created is of moral design. Grief and tragedy and
hatred are only for a time. Goodness, remembrance, and love have no end.
And the Lord of life holds all who die, and all who mourn.

It is said that adversity introduces us to ourselves. This is true
of a nation as well. In this trial, we have been reminded, and the world
has seen, that our fellow Americans are generous and kind, resourceful and
brave. We see our national character in rescuers working past exhaustion;
in long lines of blood donors; in thousands of citizens who have asked to
work and serve in any way possible.

And we have seen our national character in eloquent acts of
sacrifice. Inside the World Trade Center, one man who could have saved
himself stayed until the end at the side of his quadriplegic friend. A
beloved priest died giving the last rites to a firefighter. Two office
workers, finding a disabled stranger, carried her down sixty-eight floors
to safety. A group of men drove through the night from Dallas to
Washington to bring skin grafts for burn victims.

In these acts, and in many others, Americans showed a deep commitment
to one another, and an abiding love for our country. Today, we feel what
Franklin Roosevelt called the warm courage of national unity. This is a
unity of every faith, and every background.

It has joined together political parties in both houses of Congress.
It is evident in services of prayer and candlelight vigils, and American
flags, which are displayed in pride, and wave in defiance.

Our unity is a kinship of grief, and a steadfast resolve to prevail
against our enemies. And this unity against terror is now extending
across the world.

America is a nation full of good fortune, with so much to be grateful
for. But we are not spared from suffering. In every generation, the
world has produced enemies of human freedom. They have attacked America,
because we are freedom's home and defender. And the commitment of our
fathers is now the calling of our time.

On this national day of prayer and remembrance, we ask almighty God
to watch over our nation, and grant us patience and resolve in all that is
to come. We pray that He will comfort and console those who now walk in
sorrow. We thank Him for each life we now must mourn, and the promise of
a life to come.

As we have been assured, neither death nor life, nor angels nor
principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor
height nor depth, can separate us from God's love. May He bless the souls
of the departed. May He comfort our own. And may He always guide our

God bless America.


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