Monday, September 13, 2021

George W Bush and the country he knows

On the twentieth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, former President George W Bush spoke at the memorial site for Flight 93 at its crash site in Pennsylvania. His words were succinct, direct, and heartfelt, and his message said so much in a rather brief reflection, the whole speech lasting just over nine minutes. Few people will ever know the incredible burden President Bush must carry for being the Commander in Chief during the worst terrorist attack on American soil. Knowing that, he used this time of reflection to share with us all, not just his honor for the people who died as heroes, but also his thoughts about "the America I know."

On America's day of trial and grief, I saw millions of people instinctively grab for a neighbor's hand and rally to the cause of one another. That is the America I know.

At a time when religious bigotry might have flowed freely, I saw Americans reject prejudice and embrace people of Muslim faith. That is the nation I know.

At a time when nativism could have stirred hatred and violence against people perceived as outsiders, I saw Americans reaffirm their welcome to immigrants and refugees. That is the nation I know.

At a time when some viewed the rising generation as individualistic and decadent, I saw young people embrace an ethic of service and rise to selfless action. That is the nation I know.

This is not mere nostalgia; it is the truest version of ourselves. It is what we have been -- and what we can be again.

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