Political Musings December 15, 2014: Bush visits 9/11 memorial museum after Senate CIA torture report release

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Bush visits 9/11 memorial museum after Senate CIA torture report release

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Less than a week after the Senate CIA torture report was released Former President George W. Bush visited the September 11th Memorial and Museum on Sunday evening, Dec. 14, 2014. President Bush’s visit was without much fanfare, without…READ MORE

News Headlines December 4, 2014: Jenna Bush admits to hanky-panky in the White House when her dad was president

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Jenna Bush admits to hanky-panky in the White House when her dad was president

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Former First Daughter Jenna Bush Hager appeared on Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live” on the episode that aired on Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014. Hagar weighed-in on Elizabeth Lauten’s attack on the current first…READ MORE

Political Musings June 16, 2014: Obama is now just as loved or not as Bush as favorable ratings hit new lows

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Political Musings June 11, 2014: Levin wants unemployment extension be added to tax extenders or highway bills

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Political Musings June 9, 2014: New poll finds Obama less competent than both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush

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Recent polls are giving President Barack Obama a stream of bad news, now a new Fox News poll released on Wednesday, June 4, 2014 finds that Americans consider Obama less competent than his recent predecessors. The new Fox News poll…Continue

Full Text Obama Presidency May 15, 2014: President Barack Obama’s Speech at the 9/11 Museum Dedication

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President Obama Speaks at 9/11 Museum Dedication: “A Sacred Place of Healing and of Hope”

 Source: WH, 5-15-14
President Barack Obama delivers remarks during the National September 11 Memorial & Museum dedication ceremony in New York, N.Y., May 15, 2014.President Barack Obama delivers remarks during the National September 11 Memorial & Museum dedication ceremony in New York, N.Y., May 15, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

This morning, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at Ground Zero opened its doors to the families of those who lost their lives in the 2001 attacks, as well as the first responders and recovery workers that helped save the lives of others that day…READ MORE

Remarks by the President at 9/11 Museum Dedication

Source: WH, 5-15-14

Watch the Video

New York, New York

10:12 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Mayor Bloomberg, Governor Cuomo, honored guests, families of the fallen.

In those awful moments after the South Tower was hit, some of the injured huddled in the wreckage of the 78th floor.  The fires were spreading.  The air was filled with smoke.  It was dark, and they could barely see.  It seemed as if there was no way out.

And then there came a voice — clear, calm, saying he had found the stairs.  A young man in his 20s, strong, emerged from the smoke, and over his nose and his mouth he wore a red handkerchief.

He called for fire extinguishers to fight back the flames.  He tended to the wounded.  He led those survivors down the stairs to safety, and carried a woman on his shoulders down 17 flights. Then he went back.  Back up all those flights.  Then back down again, bringing more wounded to safety.  Until that moment when the tower fell.

They didn’t know his name.  They didn’t know where he came from.  But they knew their lives had been saved by the man in the red bandana.

Again, Mayor Bloomberg; distinguished guests; Mayor de Blasio; Governors Christie and Cuomo; to the families and survivors of that day; to all those who responded with such courage — on behalf of Michelle and myself and the American people, it is an honor for us to join in your memories.  To remember and to reflect.  But above all, to reaffirm the true spirit of 9/11 — love, compassion, sacrifice — and to enshrine it forever in the heart of our nation.

Michelle and I just had the opportunity to join with others on a visit with some of the survivors and families — men and women who inspire us all.  And we had a chance to visit some of the exhibits.  And I think all who come here will find it to be a profound and moving experience.

I want to express our deep gratitude to everybody who was involved in this great undertaking — for bringing us to this day, for giving us this sacred place of healing and of hope.

Here, at this memorial, this museum, we come together.  We stand in the footprints of two mighty towers, graced by the rush of eternal waters.  We look into the faces of nearly 3,000 innocent souls — men and women and children of every race, every creed, and every corner of the world.  We can touch their names and hear their voices and glimpse the small items that speak to the beauty of their lives.  A wedding ring.  A dusty helmet.  A shining badge.

Here we tell their story, so that generations yet unborn will never forget.  Of coworkers who led others to safety.  Passengers who stormed a cockpit.  Our men and women in uniform who rushed into an inferno.  Our first responders who charged up those stairs.  A generation of servicemembers — our 9/11 Generation — who have served with honor in more than a decade of war.  A nation that stands tall and united and unafraid — because no act of terror can match the strength or the character of our country.  Like the great wall and bedrock that embrace us today, nothing can ever break us; nothing can change who we are as Americans.

On that September morning, Alison Crowther lost her son Welles.  Months later, she was reading the newspaper — an article about those final minutes in the towers.  Survivors recounted how a young man wearing a red handkerchief had led them to safety.  And in that moment, Alison knew.  Ever since he was a boy, her son had always carried a red handkerchief.  Her son Welles was the man in the red bandana.

Welles was just 24 years old, with a broad smile and a bright future.  He worked in the South Tower, on the 104th floor. He had a big laugh, a joy of life, and dreams of seeing the world.  He worked in finance, but he had also been a volunteer firefighter.  And after the planes hit, he put on that bandana and spent his final moments saving others.

Three years ago this month, after our SEALs made sure that justice was done, I came to Ground Zero.  And among the families here that day was Alison Crowther.  And she told me about Welles and his fearless spirit, and she showed me a handkerchief like the one he wore that morning.

And today, as we saw on our tour, one of his red handkerchiefs is on display in this museum.  And from this day forward, all those who come here will have a chance to know the sacrifice of a young man who — like so many — gave his life so others might live.

Those we lost live on in us.  In the families who love them still.  In the friends who remember them always.  And in a nation that will honor them, now and forever.

And today it is my honor to introduce two women forever bound by that day, united in their determination to keep alive the true spirit of 9/11 — Welles Crowther’s mother Alison, and one of those he saved, Ling Young.  (Applause.)

END
10:21 A.M. EDT

Political Musings April 7, 2014: George W. Bush exhibits his portraits of world leaders at presidential library

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George W. Bush exhibits his portraits of world leaders at presidential library

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Former President George W. Bush unveiled on Friday, April 4, 2014 a new exhibition entitled “The Art of Leadership: A President’s Personal Diplomacy” at his presidential library and center, the George W. Bush Presidential Center…READ MORE

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Political Musings February 24, 2014: Bush highlights Military Service Initiative helping veterans reintegrate

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Former President George W. Bush appeared on ABC News’ “This Week” on Sunday Feb. 23, 2014 speaking to Martha Raddatz about the Military Service Initiative at the Bush Institute geared especially towards veterans were served in the…READ MORE

Political Musings November 21, 2013: George W. Bush hails post-presidential life in interview with Jay Leno

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George W. Bush hails post-presidential life in interview with Jay Leno

By Bonnie K. Goodman

 

In what was a definite turnaround, Former President George W. Bush (2001-09) was Jay Leno’s honored guest while President Barack Obama was the late night talk show host’s punch line on the Tuesday evening Nov…

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Political Musings August 6, 2013: Former President George W. Bush undergoes heart surgery

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Former President George W. Bush undergoes heart surgery

By Bonnie K. Goodman

In what was a surprise to the world, Former President George W. Bush’s office announced on August 6, 2013 that he had underwent a surgical procedure to relieve a blocked artery in his heart. Bush, 67, a Republican…READ MORE

Political Musings July 11, 2013: Former President George W. Bush enters immigration reform debate

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Former President George W. Bush enters immigration reform debate

By Bonnie K. Goodman

On Wednesday, July 10, former President George W. Bush gave a speech pushing for the passage of immigration reform at the George W. Bush Institute affiliated with his presidential library and museum and George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas…READ MORE

Political Headlines July 7, 2013: George W. Bush on ABC’s This Week: I don’t speak much with Obama

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Bush: I don’t speak much with Obama

Source: USA TODAY, 7-7-13

Former president George W. Bush confirmed something we all suspected: He doesn’t speak much with President Obama. “He’s busy … and I’m retired,” Bush told ABC’s This Week in a taped interview….READ MORE

Political Transcripts April 25, 2013: Former President George W. Bush’s Remarks at His Presidential Library Dedication

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

George W. Bush’s Remarks at His Presidential Library Dedication

Source: NYT, 4-25-13

The following is the text of former President George W. Bush’s remarks at his presidential library dedication in Dallas on Thursday, as transcribed by Federal News Service.

MR. BUSH: Thank you all. Please be seated. Oh, happy days. (Laughter.) I want to thank you all for coming. Laura and I are thrilled to have so many friends — I mean, a lot of friends here to celebrate this special day. There was a time in my life when I wasn’t likely to be found at a library, much less found one. (Laughter.)

Beautiful building has my name above the door, but it belongs to you. It honors the cause we serve and the country we share. For eight years, you gave me the honor of serving as your president, and today I’m proud to dedicate this center to the American people. (Applause.)

I am very grateful to President Obama and Michelle for making this trip. (Applause.) Unlike the other presidents here, he’s actually got a job. (Laughter.) President, thank you for your kinds words and for leading the nation we all love. (Applause.) I appreciate my fellow members of the former presidents club — 42, 41 and 39. I want to thank you all for your kind words and the example you have set. (Applause.)

Alexander Hamilton once worried about ex-presidents wandering among the people like discontented ghosts. (Laughter.) Actually, I think we seem pretty happy. (Laughter.) One reason for that, we have wonderful first ladies at our side. (Applause.)

Hillary and Rosalynn, thank you for your service and your generosity.

Mother and Laura, you know how I feel. (Laughter.)

Condi introduced the world leaders with whom I had the privilege to serve. You’re good friends, and I’m honored to have you here in the Promised Land.

I want to welcome the members of Congress — Mr. Speaker, appreciate you coming — and the diplomatic corps. I know you will all be happy to hear that this speech is a lot shorter than the State of the Union. (Laughter.)

I thank the governors, governor of our own home state and the other governors, mayors, state and local officials who have joined us.

I welcome members of my Cabinet, the White House staff and administration, especially Vice President Dick Cheney. (Applause.) From the day I asked Dick to run with me, he served with loyalty, principle and strength. Proud to call you friend. (Applause.)

History’s going to show that I served with great people — a talented, dedicated, intelligent men — team of men and women who love our nation as much as I do.

I want to thank the people who have made this project a success. President Gerald Turner runs a fantastic university — (applause) — a university with active trustees, dedicated faculty and a student body that is awesome. (Cheers, applause, laughter.)

I want to thank David Ferriero, Alan Lowe and the professionals at the National Archives and Records Administration who have taken on a major task, and I am confident you all will handle it.

I appreciate the architects, landscapers and designers, especially Bob Stern, Michael Van Valkenburgh and Dan Murphy. I want to thank the folks of Manhattan Construction as well as all the workers who built a fine facility that will stand the test of time.

I thank the fantastic team at the George W. Bush Center, headed by Mark Langdale and Jim Glassman and my longtime pal Donny Evans. Much to the delight — much to the delight of the folks who worked on this project, we have raised enough money to pay our bills. We have — (applause) — we have over 300,000 contributors from all 50 states, and Laura and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts. (Applause.)

This is the first time in American history that parents have seen their son’s presidential library. Mother, I promise to keep my area clean. (Laughter.) You know, Barbara Bush taught me to live life to the fullest, to laugh a lot and to speak my mind, a trait that sometimes got us both into trouble.

Dad taught me how to be a president. Before that, he showed me how to be a man. And ’41, it is awesome that you are here today. (Cheers, applause.) I welcome — I welcome my dear brothers and sister, as well as in-laws, cousins, nephews, nieces, uncles — all of you for joining us. Our family has meant more to me than anything, and I thank you for making it so.

Not so long ago this campus was home to a beautiful West Texan named Laura Welch. When she earned her degree in library science, I’m not sure this day’s exactly what she had in mind. (Laughter.) She’s been a source of strength and support and inspiration ever since we met in the O’Neills’ backyard in Midland, Texas. One of the joys of the presidency was watching Laura serve as first lady. The American people rightly love her, and so do I. (Applause.)

Laura’s going to be even better in her next role: grandmother. (Laughter.) It was a joy — I can’t tell you what a joy it was to hold little Mila, and I am really happy that Mila’s mother and father, Jenna and Henry, could make it here today. Thank you all for coming. (Applause.)

So if you don’t have anything to do in the morning, tune in to the “Today Show.” Jenna’s the correspondent, thereby continuing the warm relations the Bush family has with the national press. (Laughter, applause.)

And I’m really proud of Barbara, who’s with us, for her incredible work to serve others and to save lives. (Applause.)

Today marks a major milestone in a journey that began 20 years ago, when I announced my campaign for governor of Texas. Some of you were there that day. I mean, a lot of you were there that day. I picture you looking a little younger. You probably picture me with a little less gray hair. In politics, you learn who your real friends are. And our friends have stood with us every step of the way.

And today’s a day to give you a proper thanks.

In democracy, the purpose of public office is not to fulfill personal ambition. Elected officials must serve a cause greater than themselves. The political winds blow left and right. Polls rise and fall. Supporters come and go. But in the end, leaders are defined by the convictions they hold.

And my deepest conviction, the guiding principle of the administration, is that the United States of America must strive to expand the reach of freedom. (Applause.) I believe that freedom is a gift from God and the hope of every human heart. Freedom inspired our founders and preserved our union through civil war and secured the promise of civil rights. Freedom sustains dissidents bound by chains, believers huddled in underground churches and voters who risk their lives to cast their ballots. Freedom unleashes creativity, rewards innovation and replaces poverty with prosperity. And ultimately, freedom lights the path to peace.

Freedom brings responsibility. Independence from the state does not mean isolation from each other. A free society thrives when neighbors help neighbors and the strong protect the weak and public policies promote private compassion. As president, I tried to act on these principles every day. It wasn’t always easy, and it certainly wasn’t always popular.

One of the benefits of freedom is that people can disagree. It’s fair to say I created plenty of opportunities to exercise that right. (Laughter.)

But when future generations come to this library and study this administration, they’re going to find out that we stayed true to our convictions — (applause) — that we expanded freedom at home by raising standards in schools and lowering taxes for everybody — (applause) — that we liberated nations from dictatorship and freed people from AIDS and that when our freedom came under attack, we made the tough decisions required to keep the American people safe. (Applause.)

The same principles define the mission of the presidential center. I’m retired from politics — happily so, I might add — but not from public service. We’ll use our influences to help more children to start life with a quality education, to help more Americans find jobs and economic opportunity, to help more countries overcome poverty and disease, to help more people in every part of the world live in freedom.

We’ll work to empower women around the world to transform their countries, stand behind the courageous men and women who have stepped forward to wear the uniform of the United States to defend our flag and our freedoms here at home.

Ultimately, the success of a nation depends on the character of its citizens. As president, I had the privilege to see that character up close. I saw it in the first responders who charged up the stairs into the flames to save people’s lives from burning towers. I saw it in the Virginia Tech professor who barricaded his classroom door with his body until his students escaped to safety. I saw it in the people of New Orleans that made homemade boats to rescue their neighbors from the floods, saw it in the service members who laid down their lives to keep our country safe and to make other nations free.

Franklin Roosevelt once described the dedication of a library as an act of faith. I dedicate this library with an unshakable faith in the future of our country. It was the honor of a lifetime to lead a country as brave and as noble as the United States. Whatever challenges come before us, I will always believe our nation’s best days lie ahead. God bless.

Full Text Obama Presidency April 25, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech at the Dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by President Obama at Dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library

Source: WH, 4-25-13

Bush Presidential Center
Dallas, Texas

10:42 A.M. CDT

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you so much.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Please be seated.  To President Bush and Mrs. Bush; to President Clinton and now-former Secretary Clinton; to President George H.W. Bush and Mrs. Bush; to President and Mrs. Carter; to current and former world leaders and all the distinguished guests here today — Michelle and I are honored to be with you to mark this historic occasion.

This is a Texas-sized party.  And that’s worthy of what we’re here to do today:  honor the life and legacy of the 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush.

When all the living former Presidents are together, it’s also a special day for our democracy.  We’ve been called “the world’s most exclusive club” — and we do have a pretty nice clubhouse.  But the truth is, our club is more like a support group.  The last time we all got together was just before I took office.  And I needed that.  Because as each of these leaders will tell you, no matter how much you may think you’re ready to assume the office of the presidency, it’s impossible to truly understand the nature of the job until it’s yours, until you’re sitting at that desk.

And that’s why every President gains a greater appreciation for all those who served before him; for the leaders from both parties who have taken on the momentous challenges and felt the enormous weight of a nation on their shoulders.  And for me, that appreciation very much extends to President Bush.

The first thing I found in that desk the day I took office was a letter from George, and one that demonstrated his compassion and generosity.  For he knew that I would come to learn what he had learned — that being President, above all, is a humbling job.  There are moments where you make mistakes.  There are times where you wish you could turn back the clock.  And what I know is true about President Bush, and I hope my successor will say about me, is that we love this country and we do our best.

Now, in the past, President Bush has said it’s impossible to pass judgment on his presidency while he’s still alive.  So maybe this is a little bit premature.  But even now, there are certain things that we know for certain.

We know about the son who was raised by two strong, loving parents in Midland, famously inheriting, as he says, “my daddy’s eyes and my mother’s mouth.”  (Laughter.)  The young boy who once came home after a trip to a museum and proudly presented his horrified mother with a small dinosaur tailbone he had smuggled home in his pocket.  (Laughter.)  I’ll bet that went over great with Barbara.

We know about the young man who met the love of his life at a dinner party, ditching his plans to go to bed early and instead talking with the brilliant and charming Laura Welch late into the night.

We know about the father who raised two remarkable, caring, beautiful daughters, even after they tried to discourage him from running for President, saying, “Dad, you’re not as cool as you think you are.”  (Laughter.)  Mr. President, I can relate.  (Laughter.)  And now we see President Bush the grandfather, just beginning to spoil his brand-new granddaughter.

So we know President Bush the man.  And what President Clinton said is absolutely true — to know the man is to like the man, because he’s comfortable in his own skin.  He knows who he is.  He doesn’t put on any pretenses.  He takes his job seriously, but he doesn’t take himself too seriously.  He is a good man.

But we also know something about George Bush the leader.  As we walk through this library, obviously we’re reminded of the incredible strength and resolve that came through that bullhorn as he stood amid the rubble and the ruins of Ground Zero, promising to deliver justice to those who had sought to destroy our way of life.

We remember the compassion that he showed by leading the global fight against HIV/AIDS and malaria, helping to save millions of lives and reminding people in some of the poorest corners of the globe that America cares and that we’re here to help.

We remember his commitment to reaching across the aisle to unlikely allies like Ted Kennedy, because he believed that we had to reform our schools in ways that help every child learn, not just some; that we have to repair a broken immigration system; and that this progress is only possible when we do it together.

Seven years ago, President Bush restarted an important conversation by speaking with the American people about our history as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.  And even though comprehensive immigration reform has taken a little longer than any of us expected, I am hopeful that this year, with the help of Speaker Boehner and some of the senators and members of Congress who are here today, that we bring it home — for our families, and our economy, and our security, and for this incredible country that we love.  And if we do that, it will be in large part thanks to the hard work of President George W. Bush.  (Applause.)

And finally, a President bears no greater decision and no more solemn burden than serving as Commander-in-Chief of the greatest military that the world has ever known.  As President Bush himself has said, “America must and will keep its word to the men and women who have given us so much.”  So even as we Americans may at times disagree on matters of foreign policy, we share a profound respect and reverence for the men and women of our military and their families.  And we are united in our determination to comfort the families of the fallen and to care for those who wear the uniform of the United States.  (Applause.)

On the flight back from Russia, after negotiating with Nikita Khrushchev at the height of the Cold War, President Kennedy’s secretary found a small slip of paper on which the President had written a favorite saying:  “I know there is a God.  And I see a storm coming.  If he has a place for me, I believe I am ready.”

No one can be completely ready for this office.  But America needs leaders who are willing to face the storm head on, even as they pray for God’s strength and wisdom so that they can do what they believe is right.  And that’s what the leaders with whom I share this stage have all done.  That’s what President George W. Bush chose to do.  That’s why I’m honored to be part of today’s celebration.

Mr. President, for your service, for your courage, for your sense of humor, and, most of all, for your love of country, thank you very much.  From all the citizens of the United States of America, God bless you.  And God bless these United States.  (Applause.)

END
10:50 A.M. CDT

History Headlines April 25, 2013: Convergence of Presidents at George W. Bush Library Dedication

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Convergence of Presidents at Bush Library Dedication

Source: NYT, 4-25-13

From left, President Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter attended the opening ceremony of the George W. Bush Presidential Center on Thursday in Dallas.

Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

From left, President Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter attended the opening ceremony of the George W. Bush Presidential Center on Thursday in Dallas.

President Obama joined all of his living predecessors on Thursday to pay tribute to George W. Bush….READ MORE

Political Headlines February 1, 2013: Former President George W. Bush’s dog Barney dies

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George W. Bush’s dog Barney dies

Source: WaPo, 2-1-13

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Bush carries Barney into his pickup truck before driving back to his ranch house after meeting the press on the ranch in Crawford, Texas on August 13, 2003. | AP Photo

Play Slideshow

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/734200_501937233182007_1673806678_n.jpgA painting by George W. Bush of Barney, courtesy of the Bush family.

President George W. Bush’s dog Barney has died of lymphoma at the age of 12, the former president said in a statement Friday.

Bush, who has been learning to paint, published his own oil portrait of Barney as well as a Facebook album of the former first dog.

The Scottish terrier came to the White House with the Bushes; he was a gift to Laura Bush from Christine Todd Whitman, then governor of New Jersey, for the first lady’s birthday in 2000. While in the White House, he was the subject of annual “Barney Cam” videos and had his own Web site — Barney.gov.

The full statement:

Laura and I are sad to announce that our Scottish Terrier, Barney, has passed away.  The little fellow had been suffering from lymphoma and after twelve and a half years of life, his body could not fight off the illness.

Barney and I enjoyed the outdoors.  He loved to accompany me when I fished for bass at the ranch.  He was a fierce armadillo hunter.  At Camp David, his favorite activity was chasing golf balls on the chipping green.

Barney guarded the South Lawn entrance of the White House as if he were a Secret Service agent.  He wandered the halls of the West Wing looking for treats from his many friends.  He starred in Barney Cam and gave the American people Christmas tours of the White House. Barney greeted Queens, Heads of State, and Prime Ministers.  He was always polite and never jumped in their laps. 

Barney was by my side during our eight years in the White House.  He never discussed politics and was always a faithful friend.  Laura and I will miss our pal.

Political Headlines December 4, 2012: Former President George W. Bush Renews Call for Immigration Reform

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

George W. Bush Renews Call for Immigration Reform

Source: ABC News Radio, 12-4-12

Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

Former President George W. Bush called on lawmakers to tackle immigration reform with a “benevolent spirit” during a conference on immigration and economic growth Tuesday morning.

Bush said he hopes lawmakers shaping the nation’s policies “keep in mind the contribution of immigrants” during introductory remarks at the event, which was hosted by the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas.

The conference was intended to spotlight immigrants who have contributed meaningfully to the economic growth and culture of the country….READ MORE

Campaign Headlines October 17, 2012: Condoleezza Rice Joins Paul Ryan on the Campaign Trail at Baldwin Wallace University in Ohio

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

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Condoleezza Rice Joins Paul Ryan on the Campaign Trail

Source: ABC News Radio, 10-17-12

STAN HONDA/AFP/GettyImages

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice joined Paul Ryan on the campaign trail Wednesday, marking the first time she’s hit the trail for the Romney ticket since she fired up the crowd with a speech at the Republican National Convention in August.

“It doesn’t matter where you came from, it matters where you are going” was her message in this battleground state of Ohio, inferring that the president, whom she never mentioned by name, is not someone who’s offering the right direction for the country.

“As important as it is for us to pay our bills and not take on debt that we can’t afford, as important as it is to get people back to work, as important as it is to give people a sense of hope again, I want to make another argument to you,” Rice said, speaking to a crowd of over 1,000 at Baldwin Wallace University….READ MORE

Full Text Campaign Buzz August 29, 2012: Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s Speech at the 2012 Republican National Convention

CAMPAIGN 2012

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THE HEADLINES….

Condoleezza Rice RNC speech (text, video)

Source: Politico, 8-29-12

Remarks by Condoleezza Rice at the Republican National Convention as prepared for delivery.

Good evening.  Distinguished delegates, fellow Republicans, fellow Americans…

We gather here at a time of significance and challenge.   This young century has been a difficult one.  I will never forget the bright September day, standing at my desk in the White House, when my young assistant said that a plane had hit the World Trade Center – and then a second one – and a third, the Pentagon.  And then the news of a fourth, driven into the ground by brave citizens that died so that many others would live.  From that day on our sense of vulnerability and our understanding of security would be altered forever.

Then in 2008 the global financial and economic crisis stunned us and still reverberates as unemployment, economic uncertainty and failed policies cast a pall over the American recovery so desperately needed at home and abroad.

And we have seen once again that the desire for freedom is universal – as men and women in the Middle East demand it.  Yet, the promise of the Arab Spring is engulfed in uncertainty; internal strife and hostile neighbors are challenging the fragile democracy in Iraq; dictators in Iran and Syria butcher their own people and threaten the security of the region; China and Russia prevent a response; and all wonder,  “Where does America stand?”

Indeed that is the question of the moment- “Where does America stand?”  When our friends and our foes, alike, do not know the answer to that question – clearly and unambiguously — the world is a chaotic and dangerous place.  The U.S. has since the end of World War II had an answer – we stand for free peoples and free markets, we are willing to support and defend them – we will sustain a balance of power that favors freedom.

To be sure, the burdens of leadership have been heavy.  I, like you, know the sacrifices that Americans have made – yes including the ultimate sacrifice of many of our bravest.  Yet our armed forces remain the sure foundation of liberty.  We are fortunate to have men and women who volunteer – they volunteer to defend us on the front lines of freedom.  And we owe them our eternal gratitude.

I know too that it has not always been easy – though it has been rewarding – to speak up for those who would otherwise be without a voice – the religious dissident in China; the democracy advocate in Venezuela; the political prisoner in Iran.

It has been hard to muster the resources to support fledgling democracies– or to help the world’s most desperate— the AIDs orphan in Uganda, the refugee fleeing Zimbabwe, the young woman who has been trafficked into the sex trade in Southeast Asia; the world’s poorest in Haiti.   Yet this assistance – together with the compassionate works of private charities – people of conscience and people of faith— has shown the soul of our country.

And I know too that there is weariness – a sense that we have carried these burdens long enough.  But if we are not inspired to lead again, one of two things will happen – no one will lead and that will foster chaos —- or others who do not share our values will fill the vacuum.  My fellow Americans, we do not have a choice.  We cannot be reluctant to lead – and one cannot lead from behind.

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan understand this reality — that our leadership abroad and our well being at home are inextricably linked.   They know what needs to be done.

Our friends and allies must be able to trust us. From Israel to Poland to the Philippines to Colombia and across the world — they must know that we are reliable and consistent and determined.  And our adversaries must have no reason to doubt our resolve — because peace really does come through strength.  Our military capability and technological advantage will be safe in Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan’s hands.

We must work for an open global economy and pursue free and fair trade – to grow our exports and our influence abroad.  In the last years, the United States has ratified three trade agreements, all negotiated in the Bush Administration.  If you are concerned about China’s rise – consider this fact – China has signed 15 Free Trade Agreements and is negotiating 20 more.  Sadly we are abandoning the playing field of free trade – and it will come back to haunt us.

We must not allow the chance to attain energy independence to slip from our grasp.  We have a great gift of oil and gas reserves here in North America that must be and can be developed while protecting our environment.  And we have the ingenuity in the private sector to tap alternative sources of energy.

And most importantly, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will rebuild the foundation of American strength – our economy – stimulating private sector led growth and small business entrepreneurship.  When the world looks at us today they see an American government that cannot live within its means.  They see a government that continues to borrow money, mortgaging the future of generations to come.  The world knows that when a nation loses control of its finances, it eventually loses control of its destiny.  That is not the America that has inspired others to follow our lead.

After all, when the world looks to America, they look to us because we are the most successful political and economic experiment in human history.  That is the true basis of “American Exceptionalism.”   The essence of America – that which really unites us — is not ethnicity, or nationality or religion – it is an idea — and what an idea it is:  That you can come from humble circumstances and do great things.  That it doesn’t matter where you came from but where you are going.

Ours has never been a narrative of grievance and entitlement.  We have not believed that I am doing poorly because you are doing well.  We have not been envious of one another and jealous of each other’s success. Ours has been a belief in opportunity and a constant battle – long and hard — to extend the benefits of the American dream to all – without regard to circumstances of birth.

But the American ideal is indeed endangered today.   There is no country, no not even a rising China, that can do more harm to us than we can do to ourselves if we fail to accomplish the tasks before us here at home.

More than at any other time in history –the ability to mobilize the creativity and ambition of human beings forms the foundation of greatness.  We have always done that better than any country in the world.  People have come here from all over because they believed in our creed – of opportunity and limitless horizons.   They have come from the world’s most impoverished nations to make five dollars not fifty cents– and they have come from the world’s advanced societies – as engineers and scientists — to help fuel the knowledge based revolution in the Silicon Valley of California; the research triangle of North Carolina; in Austin, Texas; along Route 128 in Massachusetts – and across our country.

We must continue to welcome the world’s most ambitious people to be a part of us.  In that way we stay perpetually young and optimistic and determined.  We need immigration laws that protect our borders; meet our economic needs; and yet show that we are a compassionate people.

We have been successful too because Americans have known that one’s status at birth was not a permanent station in life.  You might not be able to control your circumstances but you could control your response to your circumstances.  And your greatest ally in doing so was a quality education.

Let me ask you, though, today, when I can look at your zip code and can tell whether you are going to get a good education – can I really say that it doesn’t matter where you came from – it matters where you are going.  The crisis in K-12 education is a grave threat to who we are.

My mom was a teacher – I have the greatest respect for the profession – we need great teachers – not poor or mediocre ones.  We need to have high standards for our students – self-esteem comes from achievement not from lax standards and false praise.  And we need to give parents greater choice – particularly poor parents whose kids – most often minorities — are trapped in failing neighborhood schools.  This is the civil rights struggle of our day.

If we do anything less, we will condemn generations to joblessness, hopelessness and dependence on the government dole.  To do anything less is to endanger our global economic competitiveness.  To do anything less is to tear apart the fabric of who we are and cement a turn toward grievance and entitlement.

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will rebuild us at home and inspire us to lead abroad.  They will provide an answer to the question, “Where does America stand?”

The challenge is real and these are tough times.  But America has met and overcome difficult circumstances before.  Whenever you find yourself doubting us – just think of all the times that we have made the impossible seem inevitable in retrospect.

America’s victorious revolutionary founding – against the greatest military power of the time; a Civil War – hundreds of thousands dead in a brutal conflict – but emerging a stronger union; a second founding – as impatient patriots fought to overcome the birth defect of slavery and the scourge of segregation; a long struggle against communism – that ended with the death of the Soviet Union and the emergence of Europe, whole free and at peace; the will to make difficult decisions, heart-wrenching choices in the aftermath of 9/11 that secured us and prevented the follow-on attacks that seemed preordained at the time.

And on a personal note– a little girl grows up in Jim Crow Birmingham – the most segregated big city in America – her parents can’t take her to a movie theater or a restaurant – but they make her believe that even though she can’t have a hamburger at the Woolworth’s lunch counter – she can be President of the United States and she becomes the Secretary of State.

Yes, America has a way of making the impossible seem inevitable in retrospect.  But of course it has never been inevitable – it has taken leadership, courage and an unwavering faith in our values.

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have the experience and the integrity and the vision to lead us – they know who we are, what we want to be and what we offer the world.

That is why this is a moment – an election – of consequence.  Because it just has to be – that the most compassionate and freest country on the face of the earth – will continue to be the most powerful!

May God Bless You – and May God continue to bless this extraordinary, exceptional country – the United States of America.

Political Buzz May 31, 2012: President George W. Bush Returns to White House for Portrait Unveiling — Barack Obama Hosts his ‘Predecessor’

POLITICAL BUZZ

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University. Ms. Goodman has also contributed the overviews, and chronologies in History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008, 4th edition, edited by Gil Troy, Fred L. Israel, and Arthur Meier Schlesinger to be published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

HONORING THE BUSH PRESIDENCY:

Luke Sharrett for The New York Times
George W. Bush stood next to his official portrait during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House on Thursday.

IN FOCUS: PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH RETURNS TO WHITE HOUSE FOR PORTRAIT UNVEILING — OBAMA HOSTS HIS ‘PREDECESSOR’

A Gracious and Civil Prelude to a Hanging: President Obama put partisanship aside for a few hours to pay tribute to his predecessor at the official unveiling of George W. Bush’s official White House portrait…. – NYT, 5-31-12

Presidential historian Michael Beschloss: “It’s wonderful to see because so often in American history, you had presidents hiding the portraits of predecessors they didn’t like. In recent years, instead, this has become a rare presidential ritual of national bipartisanship.”

  • Presidential portraits: Bushes, Obamas share rare moment of warmth: Former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush returned to the White House on Thursday for a rare shared moment with President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama.
    The occasion was the unveiling of the Bushes’ official portraits, a 50-year old tradition that brings together past and current presidents in the East Room every four to eight years. For the Bushes and the Obama, it was an occasion for humor, graciousness, emotion and warmth…. – Politico, 5-31-12
  • Bush, Obama on stage together share laughs: President Barack Obama shared the stage with former President George W. Bush, the predecessor he often inveighs against, in a friendly White House welcome for the unveiling of the 43rd president’s official portrait…. – Boston.com, 5-31-12
  • George W. Bush’s White House portrait unveiled in ceremony with Obama: President George W. Bush and Laura Bush were back in Washington on Thursday for the unveiling of the portraits of the former first couple that will hang at the White House. They were joined by President Obama and the former chief….. – LAT, 5-31-12
  • Bush thanks Obama for inviting his “rowdy friends” to portrait hanging: Former President George W. Bush brought a light-hearted tone to the unveiling of his official White House portrait on Thursday, winning over an audience of friends, family and former colleagues with jokes.
    Standing beside his portrait after its unveiling in the White House East Room, Mr. Bush chided the cheering audience to quiet down and thanked President Obama “for inviting our rowdy friends to my hanging.”… – CBS News, 5-31-12
  • Obama praises predecessor as George W. Bush portrait unveiled: In a rare public tribute to his predecessor, President Obama unveiled the formal White House portrait of George W. Bush on Thursday, praising his “strength and resolve” after the9/11 terrorist attacks. LAT, 5-31-12
  • George W. Bush presidential portrait is unveiled. Who paid for it?: Though no longer the ‘haphazard affair’ it once was, the process of creating a presidential portrait like George W. Bush’s is not an easy process. But taxpayers don’t pick up the tab…. – CS Monitor, 5-31-12
  • Bush is back: Portrait event stirs up odd politics: President Barack Obama is welcoming his favorite foil, former President George W. Bush, back to the White House on Thursday for the official unveiling of Bush’s portrait…. – AP, 5-31-12
  • Barack Obama to host George W. Bush at White House: President Barack Obama has made him a foil for more than three years, the man he blames for the “mess” he inherited of an economy in free fall and wars gone astray. But it will be smiles and handshakes…. – McClatchy-Tribune News Service, 5-30-12
  • Obama to pause, salute Bush for a day: President Obama will preside over the unveiling of the official portraits of President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush in a White House celebration…. – The Seattle Times, 5-30-12
  • Odd politics, but tradition: Bush back at White House for portrait unveiling: President Barack Obama frequently bad-mouths George W. Bush’s record as a disaster. So here comes the odd part: Obama is about to proudly preside as Bush’s image and legacy are enshrined at the White House forever…. – WaPo, 5-31-12

Obama Welcomes George W. Bush Back to the White House

Source: ABC News Radio, 5-31-12

Despite frequently blaming his predecessor for the “messes” he inherited, President Obama on Thursday will welcome former President George W. Bush back to the White House to honor his legacy.

The 43rd president and his wife, former First Lady Laura Bush, will be back at their former home for the official unveiling of their portraits, an often uncomfortable presidential tradition.

The White House maintained Wednesday that Obama is looking forward to the event and that it’s “not at all” awkward.

“Look, there are differences… without question, between [President Obama’s] approach and the approach and the policies of his predecessor,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters.  “That was certainly the case when, I believe, President George W. Bush had President Clinton to the White House for his portrait unveiling.  And I think it is well-established that those two now-former presidents have a good relationship…. I think there is a community here with very few members that transcends political and policy differences.”…READ MORE

Remarks by President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Former President George W. Bush and Former First Lady Laura Bush at the Official Portrait Unveiling

East Room

1:31 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you so much.  Well, good afternoon, everybody.  Thank you, Fred, for that introduction.  To President George H. W. Bush and Barbara, to all the members of the Bush family who are here — it is a great privilege to have you here today.  And to President and Mrs. Bush, welcome back to the house that you called home for eight years.

The White House is many things at once.  It’s a working office, it’s a living museum, it’s an enduring symbol of our democracy.  But at the end of the day, when the visitors go home and the lights go down, a few of us are blessed with the tremendous honor to actually live here.

I think it’s fair to say that every President is acutely aware that we are just temporary residents — we’re renters here.  We’re charged with the upkeep until our lease runs out.  But we also leave a piece of ourselves in this place.  And today, with the unveiling of the portraits next to me, President and Mrs. Bush will take their place alongside men and women who built this country and those who worked to perfect it.

It’s been said that no one can ever truly understand what it’s like being President until they sit behind that desk and feel the weight and responsibility for the first time.  And that is true.  After three and a half years in office — and much more gray hair — (laughter) — I have a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by the Presidents who came before me, including my immediate predecessor, President Bush.

In this job, no decision that reaches your desk is easy.  No choice you make is without costs.  No matter how hard you try, you’re not going to make everybody happy.  I think that’s something President Bush and I both learned pretty quickly.  (Laughter.)

And that’s why, from time to time, those of us who have had the privilege to hold this office find ourselves turning to the only people on Earth who know the feeling.  We may have our differences politically, but the presidency transcends those differences.  We all love this country.  We all want America to succeed.  We all believe that when it comes to moving this country forward, we have an obligation to pull together.  And we all follow the humble, heroic example of our first President, George Washington, who knew that a true test of patriotism is the willingness to freely and graciously pass the reins of power on to somebody else.

That’s certainly been true of President Bush.  The months before I took the oath of office were a chaotic time.  We knew our economy was in trouble, our fellow Americans were in pain, but we wouldn’t know until later just how breathtaking the financial crisis had been.  And still, over those two and a half months — in the midst of that crisis — President Bush, his Cabinet, his staff, many of you who are here today, went out of your ways — George, you went out of your way — to make sure that the transition to a new administration was as seamless as possible.

President Bush understood that rescuing our economy was not just a Democratic or a Republican issue; it was a American priority.  I’ll always be grateful for that.

The same is true for our national security.  None of us will ever forget where we were on that terrible September day when our country was attacked.  All of us will always remember the image of President Bush standing on that pile of rubble, bullhorn in hand, conveying extraordinary strength and resolve to the American people but also representing the strength and resolve of the American people.

And last year, when we delivered justice to Osama bin Laden, I made it clear that our success was due to many people in many organizations working together over many years — across two administrations.  That’s why my first call once American forces were safely out of harm’s way was to President Bush.  Because protecting our country is neither the work of one person, nor the task of one period of time, it’s an ongoing obligation that we all share.

Finally, on a personal note, Michelle and I are grateful to the entire Bush family for their guidance and their example during our own transition.

George, I will always remember the gathering you hosted for all the living former Presidents before I took office, your kind words of encouragement.  Plus, you also left me a really good TV sports package.  (Laughter.)  I use it.  (Laughter.)

Laura, you reminded us that the most rewarding thing about living in this house isn’t the title or the power, but the chance to shine a spotlight on the issues that matter most.  And the fact that you and George raised two smart, beautiful daughters — first, as girls visiting their grandparents and then as teenagers preparing to head out into the world — that obviously gives Michelle and I tremendous hope as we try to do the right thing by our own daughters in this slightly odd atmosphere that we’ve created.

Jenna and Barbara, we will never forget the advice you gave Sasha and Malia as they began their lives in Washington.  They told them to surround themselves with loyal friends, never stop doing what they love; to slide down the banisters occasionally — (laughter) — to play Sardines on the lawn; to meet new people and try new things; and to try to absorb everything and enjoy all of it.  And I can tell you that Malia and Sasha took that advice to heart.  It really meant a lot to them.

One of the greatest strengths of our democracy is our ability to peacefully, and routinely, go through transitions of power.  It speaks to the fact that we’ve always had leaders who believe in America, and everything it stands for, above all else — leaders and their families who are willing to devote their lives to the country that they love.

This is what we’ll think about every time we pass these portraits — just as millions of other visitors will do in the decades, and perhaps even the centuries to come.  I want to thank John Howard Sanden, the artist behind these beautiful works, for his efforts.  And on behalf of the American people, I want to thank most sincerely President and Mrs. Bush for their extraordinary service to our country.

And now I’d like to invite them on stage to take part in the presentation.  (Applause.)

(Portraits are unveiled.)

PRESIDENT BUSH:  Thank you, sit down.  Sit down.  Behave yourselves.  (Laughter.)  Mr. President, thank you for your warm hospitality.  Madam First Lady, thank you so much for inviting our rowdy friends — (laughter) — to my hanging.  (Laughter.)

Laura and I are honored to be here.  Mr. Vice President, thank you for coming.  We are overwhelmed by your hospitality.  And thank you for feeding the Bush family, all 14 members of us who are here.  (Laughter.)  I want to thank our girls for coming.  I thank Mom and Dad, brother, sister, in-laws, aunts and uncles.  I appreciate you taking your time.  I know you’re as excited as Laura and me to be able to come back here, and particularly thank the people who helped make this house a home for us for eight years, the White House staff.

I want to thank Fred Ryan and the White House Historical Association and Bill Allman, the White House curator.  I am pleased that my portrait brings an interesting symmetry to the White House collection.  It now starts and ends with a George W.  (Laughter and applause.)

When the British burned the White House, as Fred mentioned, in 1814, Dolley Madison famously saved this portrait of the first George W.  (Laughter.)  Now, Michelle, if anything happens there’s your man.  (Laughter and applause.)  I am also pleased, Mr. President, that when you are wandering these halls as you wrestle with tough decisions, you will now be able to gaze at this portrait and ask, what would George do?  (Laughter.)

I am honored to be hanging near a man who gave me the greatest gift possible, unconditional love — and that would be number 41.  (Applause.)  I want to thank John Howard Sanden for agreeing to use his considerable talents to paint my likeness.  You’ve done a fine job with a challenging subject.  (Laughter.)

In the portrait, there’s a painting by W.H.D. Koerner called, “A Charge to Keep.”  It hung in the Oval Office for eight years of my presidency.  I asked John to include it, because it reminds me of the wonderful people with whom I was privileged to serve.  Whether they served in the Cabinet or on the presidential staff, these men and women — many of whom are here — worked hard and served with honor.  We had a charge to keep and we kept the charge.

It is my privilege to introduce the greatest First Lady ever — sorry, Mom.  (Laughter.)  Would you agree to a tie?  (Laughter.)  A woman who brought such grace and dignity and love in this house.  (Applause.)

MRS. BUSH:  Thank you all.  (Applause.)  Thank you, everybody.  Thank you very much.  Thank you, darling.

Thank you, President and Mrs. Obama.  Thank you for your kindness and your consideration today.  It was really gracious of you to invite us back to the White House to hang a few family pictures.  (Laughter.)  And I’m sure you know nothing makes a house a home like having portraits of its former occupants staring down at you from the walls.  (Laughter.)

This is not the first time I’ve had the opportunity to confront an artistic likeness of myself.  A few years ago, just after the 2008 election, a friend sent me something he’d found in the gift shop of the National Constitutional Center in Philadelphia.  It was a Laura Bush bobblehead doll.  (Laughter.)  He said he found it on the clearance shelf.  (Laughter.)

But I’m flattered and grateful to know that this particular work has a permanent home.  And thanks to the masterful talent of John Howard Sanden, I like it a whole lot better than I do that bobblehead doll.  (Laughter.)

Thank you very much, John Howard Sanden — you’re terrific to work with.  And thanks to Elizabeth and your family who have joined you today.  Thank you very, very much, John.  (Applause.)

And, of course, it’s meaningful to me as a private person to know that these portraits will be on view at the White House, that my portrait will hang just down the hall from my mother-in-law, and that George’s portrait will hang very close to his dad’s.  But what’s more meaningful is it’s meaningful to me as a citizen.  This was our family’s home for eight years.  It was our home, but it wasn’t our house.  This house belongs to the people whose portraits will never hang here, the ordinary and not-so-ordinary people whose lives inspired us and whose expectations guided us during the years that we lived here.

In this room are many of the people who stood by us as we faced the tragedy of September 11th, and who worked with us in the years after.  Thanks to each and every one of you for your service to our country.  (Applause.)

I hope others will see in this portrait what I see:  a woman who was honored and humbled to live in the White House during a period of great challenge, and who will never forget the countless American faces who make up the true portrait of that time.

Thank you all very much.  Thanks so much.  And thank you, Michelle, if you want to come up.  (Applause.)

MRS. OBAMA:  Well, I don’t think we have enough tissue to go around.  (Laughter.)  Jenna and Barbara, they’re just a mess.  (Laughter.)  But I want to thank President and Mrs. Bush for joining us today.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Laura for providing such a wonderful model of strength and grace for me to follow as First Lady.  It is an interesting job, and it’s just been amazing to learn from your example not just as a First Lady, but as a mother of two wonderful daughters.  You’re on the other side of where we hope to be — (laughter) — in a couple of years — two daughters that sit up straight and cry when they’re — (laughter) — and think lovingly about their mom and their dad.  (Laughter.)  We’re working towards that goal, but you’ve done a terrific job.

And I also want to echo Barack.  We couldn’t be more thankful for the warmth and graciousness that both of you showed — all of you showed — our family when we moved in three years ago.  It is truly, truly a privilege for us to occupy this house.  And hopefully, we are setting the same example of warmth and love and hope that you all have provided as well.

The warmth is truly reflected in these portraits, and I promise you — (laughter) — I promise, I’m going straight for — (laughter) — and I’m sure it will be closer right down the stairs, and I’ll get right to it.

So I am thrilled for all of the White House visitors who will soon have the chance to enjoy them as well.  And I’m thrilled for both of you as you join these incredible Americans whose portraits are already displayed here at the White House.

So congratulations again.  Congratulations on the work that you have done, the example that you have provided to this country, and what it means to be an American family.  We are so happy and proud and honored to be a part.

And with that, it is my pleasure to invite you all to join us for a reception right outside in the State Room.  Now it’s time to eat.  (Laughter.)  Thank you all so much.  (Applause.)

END
1:50 P.M. EDT

May 31, 2012

Background Information on the Presentation of Portraits of President George W. Bush and Mrs. Laura Welch Bush

President George Walker Bush
President George W. Bush is portrayed standing in the center of the Oval Office in the West Wing. His right hand rests on an armchair made for the White House in 1818 by District of Columbia cabinetmaker William King, Jr. A corner of the “Resolute desk,” presented to the White House by Queen Victoria in 1880, can be seen behind the chair. Over his right shoulder hangs a 1929 western painting, A Charge to Keep, by William H. D. Koerner. The President, who had used the same title for his 1999 memoir, often called attention to that painting and its significance.

Mrs. Laura Welch Bush
For the setting of her portrait, First Lady Laura Bush selected the Green Room, as refurbished with her active participation in 2007. Wearing a midnight blue gown, she rests her left hand on a lyreback armchair attributed to the famous New York cabinetmaker, Duncan Phyfe, c.1810. Federal easy chairs, among antique American furniture added to the room in 1971-72, were reupholstered in a rich salmon-colored silk. The 1767 David Martin portrait of Benjamin  Franklin hangs over the neoclassical mantel, acquired for the White House in 1818.

About the Artist
John Howard Sanden, born in 1935 in Austin Texas, now lives in Connecticut and maintains a studio in Carnegie Hall in New York City. Well known for his portraits of leaders of industry and education, he received the first John Singer Sargent Medal for Lifetime Achievement from the American Society of Portrait Artists in 1994.

Commissioning
As usual, the White House Historical Association contracted with the artist selected by the subjects and will donate the finished paintings to the White House as a gift of the George B. Hartzog, Jr. White House Acquisition Trust. In 2010, President Bush selected John Howard Sanden to execute his White House portrait.  The success of the sittings and the portrait itself, completed in 2011, led Mrs. Bush to select Sanden for her portrait as well, finished in early 2012.

Campaign Buzz May 15, 2012: Former President George W. Bush Endorses Mitt Romney… As Elevator Door Closed — Speaking at Launch of Presidential Center’s “Freedom Collection”

CAMPAIGN 2012

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University. Ms. Goodman has also contributed the overviews, and chronologies in History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008, 4th edition, edited by Gil Troy, Fred L. Israel, and Arthur Meier Schlesinger to be published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

Former President George W. Bush is pictured.
Bush spoke Tuesday in Washington at an event for his presidential institute. | AP Photo

IN FOCUS: FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH ENDORSES MITT ROMNEY… AS HIS ELEVATOR DOOR CLOSED

George W. Bush offers quick support to Mitt Romney: George W. Bush is backing presumptive Republican White House nominee Mitt Romney.
The former president offered a four-word endorsement of Romney as the doors of his elevator were closing after a speech Tuesday in Washington. Bush said:
“I’m for Mitt Romney.”
ABC News caught Bush after the speech, prompting his unscripted, but not surprising, endorsement.
Bush’s parents, former President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush, endorsed Romney in March. Former Florida governor Jeb Bush also publicly backed Romney.
Since leaving office in January 2009, George W. Bush has tried to avoid politics…. – AP, 5-16-12

  • Bush Dips a Toe Back Into Washington: After keeping a low profile since leaving office, former President George W. Bush is starting to speak out again on issues he hopes will define his legacy…. – NYT, 5-15-12
  • George W. Bush endorses Mitt Romney: ABC News caught up with former president George W. Bush in an elevator in downtown Washington on Tuesday and asked the question that elicited the sound bite. “I’m for Mitt Romney,” Bush said, just as the doors slid shut…. – WaPo, 5-15-12
  • George W. Bush, elevators, and the art of the tepid Romney endorsement: “I’m for Mitt Romney,” said George W. Bush, as the elevator doors closed on him. It’s amazing how much air you can take out of any announcement by inserting “as the elevator doors closed.” “Give me liberty or give me…. – WaPo, 5-15-12
  • George W. Bush voices support for Romney: Former President George W. Bush voiced his support for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign for the first time today, ABC News reports.
    In a decidedly underwhelming fashion, the former president said to a reporter, “I’m for Mitt Romney,” as the doors of an elevator closed on him. Mr. Bush was in Washington to deliver a speech on freedom and democracy at the George W. Bush Presidential Center.
    Andrea Saul, a spokesman for the Romney campaign, said of the latest unofficial endorsement, “We welcome the president’s support, as we welcomed his father’s.”
    She added that Romney does not have any scheduled appearances with Mr. Bush, noting that the former president made clear when he left office that he was not going to engage in political campaigns…. – CBS News, 5-15-12
  • George W. Bush: ‘I’m for Mitt Romney': Former President George W. Bush speaks during the “Celebration of Human Freedom” event in Washington on Tuesday. President George W. Bush offered up his endorsement of Mitt Romney. It was in an elevator — as the doors were closing…. – WSJ, 5-15-12
  • What’s Behind George W. Bush’s Odd Romney Endorsement?: The former president blurted out his support for his party’s nominee — only to be greeted with silence in return.
    George W. Bush’s endorsement of Mitt Romney on Tuesday appears to have been unplanned. The former president had just given a speech on human rights in Washington, and afterward, Matt Negrin, a reporter for ABC News, followed him to the elevator and asked who he’s supporting in the election in November.
    “I’m for Mitt Romney,” Bush said, as the elevator doors inched closed.
    Well, sure he is. What else was he supposed to say? But it was beyond strange to see a former two-term Republican president slide his support for his party’s presumptive nominee under — or, rather, through — the door in this manner. And Romney’s response was even stranger: silence. The Romney campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment on the Bush endorsement, and Romney didn’t mention it in his post-endorsement speech Tuesday in Iowa. (A campaign spokeswoman told the New York Observer that Romney was “proud” to have Bush’s support, but did not expect to campaign with him.)…. – The Atlantic, 5-15-12
  • Can George W. Bush’s tepid Romney endorsement finally unseat Daniels?: In what may be the final face-off in the Ticket’s Romney tepid endorsement playoffs, we’re pitting former President George W. Bush against three-time champion Mitch Daniels for the title. Bush, asked for his position on the election by ABC News after a speech in Washington, D.C. Tuesday, merely stated that “I’m for Mitt Romney.” In a poetic touch, he said so just as the door of the elevator he was riding closed…. – ABC News, 5-15-12

Bush touts Arab spring, says US can’t fear freedom: Former President George W. Bush on Tuesday praised the Arab spring movement and said the U.S. shouldn’t fear the spread of freedom, even if it doesn’t know what policies newly liberated countries will pursue.
“America does not get to choose if a freedom revolution should begin or end in the Middle East or elsewhere,” Bush said. “It only gets to choose what side it is on.”
And the U.S., Bush said, should always be on the side of freedom.
The former president remarks came at event marking the launch of his presidential institute’s “Freedom Collection.” The event also featured brief remarks by his wife, former first lady Laura Bush, and a question-and-answer session by video with Myanmar democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi…. – AP, 5-15-12

  • George W. Bush touts Arab spring, says U.S. can’t fear freedom: President George W. Bush had plenty to say about freedom during a rare public speech Tuesday — he uttered the word about two dozen times — but noticeably absent was a single mention of Afghanistan or Iraq, or of President Barack Obama….- Politico, 5-15-12
  • George W. Bush: US must stand with dissidents: Former president George W. Bush said Tuesday that the United States must stand with dissidents and democracy activists around the world even if the change they sow makes things more difficult in the short run…. – USA Today, 5-15-12
  • Bush Celebrates Democracy Activists, Sides With Syrian Resistance: As President George W. Bush quietly returned to Washington today, he brought along a slew of global democracy activists known mostly for never being quiet. Today’s line-up at the George W. Bush Presidential Center sponsored event…. – ABC News, 5-15-12
  • George W. Bush praises Arab spring: Former President George W. Bush praised the Arab spring movement on Tuesday and said the US shouldn’t fear the spread of freedom, even if it doesn’t know what policies newly liberated countries will pursue…. – Fort Worth Star Telegram, 5-15-12

Aung San Suu Kyi Joins President and Mrs. Bush via Video at Human Freedom Event in Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Source: George W. Bush Presidential Center, 5-25-12

President George W. Bush today praised the courage of dissidents around the world and called on America to stand with them by choosing the side of freedom. Joined by leading voices of liberty, President Bush delivered his remarks at the Celebration of Freedom, a special event in Washington, D.C., to showcase the Freedom Collection, a collection of inspiring interviews of global freedom activists compiled by the George W. Bush Institute.

“These are extraordinary times in the history of freedom,” said President George W. Bush. “In the Arab Spring, we have seen the broadest challenge to authoritarian rule since the collapse of Soviet communism. Great change has come to a region where many thought it impossible. The idea that Arab people are somehow content with oppression has been discredited forever. Yet we have also seen instability, uncertainty, and the revenge of brutal rulers. The collapse of an old order can unleash resentments and power struggles that a new order is not yet prepared to handle. But there is a reason for the momentum of liberty across the centuries:  human beings were not designed for servitude. They were created for better things. And the human soul is forever restless until it rests in freedom.

Freedom advocates from around the world whose stories are part of the Freedom Collection were in attendance at the standing-room only event, including: Ammar Abdulhamid, Syria; Rodrigo Diamanti, Venezuela; Bob Fu, China; Marcel Granier, Venezuela; Normando Hernandez, Cuba; Wei Jingsheng, China; Cristal-Montanez Baylor, Venezuela; Ahmed Samih, Egypt; Mohsen Sazegara, Iran; Doan Viet Hoat, Vietnam; and Cheery Zahau, Burma.

“Today we are pleased to recognize Facebook as a social media partner on the Freedom Collection,” said James K. Glassman, founding executive director of the George W. Bush Institute. “Through Facebook, we are extending the reach of the Freedom Collection and the Bush Center’s efforts to promote liberty by documenting and sharing the global struggle for human freedom. Having a strong presence on Facebook will enable us to promote openness, invite conversation, and foster greater debate and understanding.”

Following President Bush’s speech, Mrs. Laura Bush was introduced by ChinaAid Association founder Xiqiu “Bob” Fu. Mrs. Bush introduced Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who joined via video conference, saying, “Her example shows people everywhere that political isolation and prison cannot silence the call for liberty.”

Aung San Suu Kyi, who responded to questions the Bush Center had collected via Facebook, said, “There should be no political prisoners in Burma if we are really headed for democratization.” In response to a request for a message to the people of Syria, she said, “We are with you in your desire for freedom and in your struggle for freedom.”

During Tuesday’s event, the Bush Center also received key artifacts for inclusion in the Freedom Collection from Martin Palous, Director of the Vaclav Havel Library. The items include an original carbon copy of the Declaration of Charter 77, the 1977 independent initiative calling for the communist government of Czechoslovakia to respect fundamental human rights, Havel’s letter nominating three Cuban dissidents for the Nobel Peace Prize, and a volume of texts and speeches signed by Havel.

Available online at www.FreedomCollection.org, the Freedom Collection uses video interviews to document the personal stories of brave men and women who have led or participated in freedom movements from the 20th century to the present day. It also includes a physical archive containing documents and artifacts from major freedom movements, including an early draft of the Tibetan Constitution given to President Bush by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

The addition of these items from the Vaclav Havel Library will provide further inspiration and insight for the current generation of freedom advocates. As part of the Bush Institute’s Human Freedom initiative, the Freedom Collection helps to combat the feeling of isolation that can be common among dissidents by sharing the stories of those who have gone before in the struggle for freedom. It also expands moral and practical support from the United States and other free societies for those still seeking liberty.

 

Remarks by President Bush: The Arab Spring and American Ideals

Source: George W. Bush Presidential Center, 5-22-12

The below article by President George W. Bush was published in the Wall Street Journal on May 18, 2012 and was adapted from a speech he delivered May 15, 2012 at the Bush Institute’s Celebration of Human Freedom. The event celebrated the brave efforts of dissidents and activists around the world in their fight to be free. The Bush Institute’s Human Freedom Initiative seeks to extend the reach of freedom around the world by fostering democracy and supporting today’s freedom advocates through programs such as the Freedom Collection, unveiled earlier this spring.

The op-ed can be found on the Wall Street Journal online here.

George W. Bush: The Arab Spring and American Ideals

We do not get to choose if a freedom revolution should begin or end in the Middle East or elsewhere. We only get to choose what side we are on.

These are extraordinary times in the history of freedom. In the Arab Spring, we have seen the broadest challenge to authoritarian rule since the collapse of Soviet communism. The idea that Arab peoples are somehow content with oppression has been discredited forever.

Yet we have also seen instability, uncertainty and the revenge of brutal rulers. The collapse of an old order can unleash resentments and power struggles that a new order is not yet prepared to handle.

Some in both parties in Washington look at the risks inherent in democratic change—particularly in the Middle East and North Africa—and find the dangers too great. America, they argue, should be content with supporting the flawed leaders they know in the name of stability.

But in the long run, this foreign policy approach is not realistic. It is not within the power of America to indefinitely preserve the old order, which is inherently unstable. Oppressive governments distrust the diffusion of choice and power, choking off the best source of national prosperity and success.

This is the inbuilt crisis of tyranny. It fears and fights the very human attributes that make a nation great: creativity, enterprise and responsibility. Dictators can maintain power for a time by feeding resentments toward enemies—internal or external, real or imagined. But eventually, in societies of scarcity and mediocrity, their failure becomes evident.

America does not get to choose if a freedom revolution should begin or end in the Middle East or elsewhere. It only gets to choose what side it is on.

The day when a dictator falls or yields to a democratic movement is glorious. The years of transition that follow can be difficult. People forget that this was true in Central Europe, where democratic institutions and attitudes did not spring up overnight. From time to time, there has been corruption, backsliding and nostalgia for the communist past. Essential economic reforms have sometimes proved painful and unpopular.

It takes courage to ignite a freedom revolution. But it also takes courage to secure a freedom revolution through structural reform. And both types of bravery deserve our support.

This is now the challenge in parts of North Africa and the Middle East. After the euphoria, nations must deal with questions of tremendous complexity: What effect will majority rule have on the rights of women and religious minorities? How can militias be incorporated into a national army? What should be the relationship between a central government and regional authorities?

Problems once kept submerged by force must now be resolved by politics and consensus. But political institutions and traditions are often weak.

We know the problems. But there is a source of hope. The people of North Africa and the Middle East now realize that their leaders are not invincible. Citizens of the region have developed habits of dissent and expectations of economic performance. Future rulers who ignore those expectations—who try returning to oppression and blame shifting—may find an accountability of their own.

As Americans, our goal should be to help reformers turn the end of tyranny into durable, accountable civic structures. Emerging democracies need strong constitutions, political parties committed to pluralism, and free elections. Free societies depend upon the rule of law and property rights, and they require hopeful economies, drawn into open world markets.

This work will require patience, creativity and active American leadership. It will involve the strengthening of civil society—with a particular emphasis on the role of women. It will require a consistent defense of religious liberty. It will mean the encouragement of development, education and health, as well as trade and foreign investment. There will certainly be setbacks. But if America does not support the advance of democratic institutions and values, who will?

In promoting freedom, our methods should be flexible. Change comes at different paces in different places. Yet flexibility does not mean ambiguity. The same principles must apply to all nations. As a country embraces freedom, it finds economic and social progress. Only when a government treats its people with dignity does a nation fulfill its greatness. And when a government violates the rights of a citizen, it dishonors an entire nation.

There is nothing easy about the achievement of freedom. In America, we know something about the difficulty of protecting minorities, of building a national army, of defining the relationship between the central government and regional authorities—because we faced all of those challenges on the day of our independence. And they nearly tore us apart. It took many decades of struggle to live up to our own ideals. But we never ceased believing in the power of those ideals—and we should not today.

Political Buzz March 24, 2012: Former Vice President Dick Cheney Recovering After Heart Transplant Surgery

POLITICAL BUZZ

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University. Ms. Goodman has also contributed the overviews, and chronologies in History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008, 4th edition, edited by Gil Troy, Fred L. Israel, and Arthur Meier Schlesinger published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

POLITICAL HEADLINE NEWS:

Alex Brandon/Associated Press

Former Vice President Dick Cheney in February 2011.

IN FOCUS: FORMER VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY RECOVERING AFTER HEART TRANSPLANT SURGERY

Aide: Former Vice President Dick Cheney recovering from heart transplant: Former Vice President Dick Cheney is recovering at a Virginia hospital after a heart transplant, AP reports.
Cheney was on the transplant waiting list for more than 20 months. He suffered his fifth heart attack in 2010…. – WaPo, 3-24-12

  • Cheney recovering after heart transplant: Former vice president Dick Cheney, a 71-year-old with a long history of cardiovascular problems, had a heart transplant Saturday and is recovering at a Virginia hospital. Not even Cheney knows the donor’s identity.
    An aide to Cheney disclosed the surgery after it was complete. She said the ex-vice president, who has suffered five heart attacks over the years, had been waiting for a transplant for more than 20 months.
    “Although the former vice president and his family do not know the identity of the donor, they will be forever grateful for this lifesaving gift,” aide Kara Ahern said in a written statement.
    Former president George W. Bush was in touch with the Cheney family Saturday, spokesman Freddy Ford said. “He and Mrs. Bush are thrilled that the surgery went well, and they are keeping VP Cheney in their prayers for a full and speedy recovery,” Ford said…. – USA Today, 3-24-12
  • Aide says Cheney had heart transplant: Former Vice President Dick Cheney had a heart transplant Saturday, after five heart attacks over the past 25 years and countless medical procedures to keep him going. Cheney, 71, waited nearly two years for his new heart, the gift of an unknown donor.
    An aide to Cheney disclosed the surgery after it was over, and said the ex-vice president was recovering at a Virginia hospital.
    “Although the former vice president and his family do not know the identity of the donor, they will be forever grateful for this lifesaving gift,” aide Kara Ahern said in a written statement that was authenticated by several of the Republican politician’s close associates.
    Cheney was recovering Saturday night at the intensive care unit of Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va., after surgery earlier in the day…. – AP, 3-24-12
  • Cheney Recovering After Getting a New Heart: Former Vice President Dick Cheney had a heart transplant on Saturday after 20 months on a waiting list, and was recovering in a Virginia hospital, a statement from his office said.
    Mr. Cheney, 71, who has suffered five heart attacks and was in end-stage heart failure, was recovering in the intensive care unit of Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va.
    “Although the former vice president and his family do not know the identity of the donor, they will be forever grateful for this lifesaving gift,” said the statement from an aide, Kara Ahern. Mr. Cheney and his family thanked doctors and staff at that hospital and at George Washington University Hospital in Washington for “their continued outstanding care,” the statement said…. – NYT, 3-25-12
  • Dick Cheney receives heart transplant: Former Vice President Dick Cheney received a heart transplant on Saturday, his office announced. A statement from the former vice president’s office said Cheney is now recovering in the Intensive Care Unit of Inova Fairfax … – CBS News, 3-24-12
  • Cheney recovering from heart transplant surgery: Former GOP Vice President Dick Cheney is recovering from heart transplant surgery at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Northern Virginia, a spokeswoman said Saturday evening. In 2010, Cheney had a left ventricular assist device implanted for treatment of … – Fox News, 3-24-12
  • Dick Cheney undergoes heart transplant surgery: Former Vice President Dick Cheney was recovering Saturday evening after undergoing heart transplant surgery, his office said. Cheney, 71, was recovering at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Virginia…. – CNN, 3-24-12
  • Former Vice President Dick Cheney has heart transplant: The 71-year-old has a long history of heart ailments and had been on a waiting list for more than 20 months. Former Vice President Dick Cheney has received a heart transplant in Virginia after more than 20 months on a waiting list…. – LAT, 3-24-12
  • Cheney gets heart transplant, in intensive care: Former Vice President Dick Cheney was recovering on Saturday after undergoing heart transplant surgery, a once risky procedure whose survival rates have improved over the years. The 71-year-old Republican…. – Reuters, 3-24-12

Full Text September 11, 2011: President Barack Obama’s 9-11 Message to the Families — Remarks at National September 11 Memorial in New York & United Flight 93 Memorial

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

The 10th Anniversary of 9/11

President Obama’s Message to 9/11 Families

Source: WH, 9-11-11

President Obama has a message for those who lost loved ones on that terrible day, ten years ago: “We can never replace all that you have lost.  But what we can do, what we will do, is honor the memory of your loved ones by being the best country we can be, and by standing with you and your families, now and forever.”

The President and Mrs Obama commemorated today’s sad anniversary by attending memorial services at the three sites where the planes went down, and once again met with many of the families. The First Family have been touched by the grief that still lingers:

Despite heartache that never goes away, you’ve done what your loved ones would have wanted.  You’ve learned to live and laugh and love again.  Your courage, your resilience has been an inspiration to my family, and an inspiration to the American people.  Through you, we’ve been reminded that, as a people, we don’t simply endure, we can emerge stronger than before.

In quiet moments of remembrance, some of you have shared with Michelle and me the beauty of their lives, the anguish of your loss and the pain of these past ten years.  And I realize that there are no words than can ever fill the hole in your hearts.

But today I want to say again—your loved ones live on in you and in the life of our nation, which will never forget them.  In their name, we’ll never waver in our efforts to prevent another attack on our shores and to spare other families the heartbreak you have known.  In their name, we’ll continue to deliver justice to those who took the people you loved most in the world.  And in their name, we will come together, in spirit of national service, to honor your loved ones, as one American family.

President Obama and First Lady Join Services to Commemorate Tenth Anniversary of 9/11

Source: WH, 9-11-11

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush at the National September 11 Memorial President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, along with former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush, walk along the western edge of the North Pool at the National September 11 Memorial in New York, N.Y., prior to a commemoration ceremony on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are marking the tenth anniversary of the worst attacks on our country by joining ceremonies at each of the three sites where the planes crashed on September 11, 2001. Their first stop was New York City, where they joined the annual service that includes reading the names of all of the almost 3,000 victims. The President and First Lady joined former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush at the new September 11 Memorial, which features two reflecting pools built over the towers’ footprints where the names of the victims are etched in bronze.

Following a moment of silence at 8:46 AM, the exact moment the first plane hit the World Trade Center ten years ago, the President read Psalm 46 from the Bible:

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.

Therefore, we will not fear,
even though the earth be removed,
and though the mountains be carried
into the midst of the sea.
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
though the mountains shake
with its swelling,
there’s a river
whose streams shall make glad
the City of God,
the holy place of the Tabernacle
of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her.
She shall not be moved.
God shall help her
just at the break of dawn.
The nations raged,
the kingdoms were moved.
He uttered his voice.
The earth melted.
The Lord of Hosts is with us.
The God of Jacob is our refuge.
Come behold the works of the Lord
who has made desolations in the Earth.
He makes wars cease
to the ends of the Earth.
He breaks the bough
and cuts the spear in two.
He burns the chariot in fire.
Be still and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations.
I will be exalted in the Earths.
The Lord of Hosts is with us.
The God of Jacob is our refuge.

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama participate in a wreath laying ceremony in Shanksville PAPresident Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama participate in a wreath laying ceremony to honor those who lost their lives on 9/11, and to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks against the United States, at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

From New York, the Obamas traveled to Shanksville, Pa., where they walked along the Wall of Names that honors the 40 brave Americans who were on Flight 93,  the plane that crashed at Shanksville, and placed a wreath at the site. The President also placed a wreath at a memorial at the Pentagon, where the 184 victims are each remembered with a bench and small reflecting pool. Sunday evening, the President and the First Lady will attend A Concert for Hope at the Kennedy Center in Washington.

The President declared September 11 a national day of service and remembrance to honor those killed in the attacks, those who responded 10 years ago and those who have served in our military during in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yesterday, the First Family participated in a service project in Washington, DC.

First Lady Michelle Obama hugs a woman at the 9/11 memorial in Shanksville PAPresident Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet people on the rope line while attending a ceremony to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks against the United States, at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)
Read the Transcript  |  Download Video: mp4 (262MB) | mp3 (25MB)

On This Day in History… September 11, 2001: President Barack Obama & Former President George W. Bush Observe the 10th Anniversary of the 9/11 Terror Attacks on the World Trade Center Twin Towers, Pentagon & United Flight 93 with Memorials

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY:

Day in History

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

IN FOCUS: 10th ANNIVERSARY OF 9/11 TERROR ATTACKS

The 10th Anniversary of 9/11

From left: Laura Bush, George W. Bush, Michelle Obama and President Obama observe a moment of silence at the National September 11 Memorial. | AP Photo

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY….

On this day in history… September 11, 2001… Terrorists hijack two passenger planes crashing them into New York’s World Trade Towers causing the collapse of the 110-story twin towers& death of 2,752 people.
Terrorists hijack a passenger plane and crash it into the Pentagon causing the death of 125 people.
Attempt by passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93 to retake control of their hijacked plane from terrorists causes plane to crash in Pennsylvania field killing all 64 people onboard.

What was 9/11?: On September 11, 2001, 19 members of a terrorist group called al-Qaeda hijacked four U.S. airplanes and used them to strike various targets on the East Coast. The carefully planned attacks killed nearly 3,000 people, making it the worst attack on the United States in history…. – WaPo, 9-10-11

QUOTES

Archives: President George W. Bush’s Address to the Nation after Terror Attacks (Full Text) — Globe & Mail, 8-26-11

Full Text September 11, 2011: President Barack Obama’s Speech at the 9-11 “A Concert for Hope” — Kennedy Center in Washington, DC WH, 9-11-11

Full Text September 11, 2011: President Barack Obama’s 9-11 Message to the Families — Remarks at National September 11 Memorial in New York & United Flight 93 Memorial WH, 9-11-11

Full Text September 11, 2011: Vice President Joe Biden’s Speech at the 9-11 Memorial at the Pentagon, Washington DC WH, 9-11-11

9/11 anniversary: President Obama’s reading at World Trade Center LAT, 9-11-11

Bush Reads From Lincoln Letter at Ground Zero: Former President George W. Bush read a letter President Abraham Lincoln wrote to a widow who lost five sons in the Civil War during commemorations for the 10th anniversary of 9/11 at Ground Zero in New York. (Sept. 11)… – AP, 9-11-11

Full Text September 10, 2011: President George W. Bush’s Speech at the Unveiling of the Flight 93 National Memorial, Shanksville, Pennsylvania Fox News, 9-10-11

Full Text September 10, 2011: Vice President Joe Biden, President George W. Bush & President Bill Clinton at the Unveiling of the Flight 93 National Memorial, Shanksville, Pennsylvania WH, 9-10-11

Full Text September 10, 2011: President Barack Obama’s Weekly Address Marks the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, the September 11th Terror Attacks & Pays Tribute to the First Responders WH, 9-10-11

“”It will be said that we kept the faith. That we took a painful blow, and we emerged stronger than ever before.
It is worth remembering what has not changed — our character as a nation has not changed.
These past 10 years have shown that America does not give in to fear.
The rescue workers who rushed to the scene; the firefighters who charged up the stairs; the passengers who stormed the cockpit — these patriots defined the very nature of courage.
Our people still work in skyscrapers. Our stadiums are filled with fans, and our parks full of children playing ball…..
Too many will never come home. Those that do carry dark memories from distant places, and the legacy of fallen friends.”
Our strength is not measured in our ability to stay in these places; it comes from our commitment to leave those lands to free people and sovereign states, and our desire to move from a decade of war to a future of peace.
Debates — about war and peace; about security and civil liberties — have often been fierce these last ten years. But it is precisely the rigor of these debates, and our ability to resolve them in a way that honors our values and our democracy, that is the measure of our strength.
After 9/11, to his great credit, President Bush made clear what we reaffirm today: the United States will never wage war against Islam or any other religion. Immigrants come here from all parts of the globe.
They will know that nothing can break the will of a truly United States of America. They will be reminded that we are not perfect, but our democracy is durable, and that democracy — reflecting, as it does, the imperfections of man — also gives us the opportunity to perfect our union. That is what we honor on days of national commemoration — those aspects of the American experience that are enduring, and the determination to move forward as one people.” — President Obama at “A Concert for Hope” at the Kennedy Center in Washington

    • Obama’s remarks at Sept. 11 observance in NY: Text of President Barack Obama’s remarks at New York City’s commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, as provided by the White House. He read from Psalm 46…. – AP, 9-11-11

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, even though the earth be removed and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea, though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling.” — — President Obama, Psalm 46

“President Lincoln not only understood the heartbreak of his country, he also understood the cost to sacrifice and reached out to console those in sorrow.” — Fromer President George W. Bush

“Dear Madam,
I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming.
But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.
Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,
‘A. Lincoln'” —
ABRAHAM LINCOLN’S LETTER TO MRS BIXBY, 1864, Washington, November 21, 1864 read by Former President George W. Bush at the 9/11 Memorial

“Ten years have passed since a perfect blue sky morning turned into the blackest of nights. Since then, we’ve lived in sunshine and in shadows. And although we can never ‘unsee’ what happened here … we can also see that children who lost their parents have grown into young adults, grandchildren have been born, and good works and public service have taken root to honor those we loved and lost.” — New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said in opening the ceremony

“They were our neighbors, our friends, our husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, children and parents. They were the ones who rushed in to help, 2,983 innocent men, women and children. We have asked their families to come here to speak the names out loud to remind each of us of a person we lost in New York, in Washington and Pennsylvania.” — New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said in opening the ceremony

“Freedom means the supremacy of human rights everywhere.” — New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

“Names etched on the head of a pin.
One name spanning a bridge, another undergoing a tunnel.
A blue name needled into the skin.
Names of citizens, workers, mothers and fathers,
The bright-eyed daughter, the quick son.
Alphabet of names in a green field.
Names in the small tracks of birds.
Names lifted from a hat
Or balanced on the tip of the tongue.
Names wheeled into the dim warehouse of memory.
So many names, there is barely room on the walls of the heart.” — former New York Governor George Pataki read the last verse of “No words cried out so fully from the broken heart of our nation as those of a poem called “The Names,” written a year after the attacks, by the United States’ Poet Laureate, Billy Collins.

“Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.” — Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani quoted Edna St. Vincent Millay

“If I should die and leave you here a while,
be not like others sore undone,
who keep long vigil by the silent dust.
For my sake turn again to life and smile,
nerving thy heart and trembling hand
to do something to comfort other hearts than thine.
Complete these dear unfinished tasks of mine
and I perchance may therein comfort you.”
— New Jersey Governor Chris Christie also turned to a poet, Mary Lee Hall, who wrote “Turn Again To Life”

“I know these memorials — and you’ve been through many — are bittersweet moments for you, because as you sit here right now, unlike a month ago, everything’s come back in stark relief. It’s not a thought, it’s precise. You remember that God-awful empty feeling, you remember being sucked into your own chest and that feeling of hollowness. But I want you to know something else. Your physical presence here today gives hope to thousands of Americans who under different circumstances are trying to come to grips with the losses that you had.” — Vice President Joe Biden attended the Pentagon ceremony

Ten years ago today, ordinary Americans went to work or boarded a plane and found themselves fighting on the frontlines of a battle they did not choose. They acquitted themselves with grace and courage, just as the thousands of men and women who enlisted to fight in our armed forces— many on the anniversaries of this day—in order to exact justice for their fellow Americans. We will never forget those who died ten years ago today, we will never forget those who died in the war that started on that day, and we ask God to comfort and bless their families. From across this great nation, grateful Americans honor those who defend our homeland. God bless America. — Sarah Palin

“What happened above this Pennsylvania field was among the most courageous acts in American history. For as long as this memorial stands, we’ll remember … the sacrifice they made and the lives they spared. The United States will never forget…. Americans are alive today because the passengers and crew of Flight 93 chose to act, and our nation will be forever grateful.” — Former President George W. Bush at United Flight 93 Memorial, Shanksville, PA

“There has always been a special place in the common memory for people who deliberately, knowingly, certainly lay down their lives for other people to live.” — Former President Bill Clinton at United Flight 93 Memorial, Shanksville, PA

“Ten years later, I’d say America came through this thing in a way that was consistent with our character. Some things haven’t happened as quickly as they needed to. But overall, we took the fight to al- Qaeda, we preserved our values, we preserved our character.” — President Barack Obama in an interview with NBC News

Bush After 9/11 Says He Has No Regrets: “The work that was done by intelligence communities during my presidency was part of putting together the puzzle that enabled us to see the full picture of how bin Laden was communicating and eventually where he was hiding. It began the day after 9/11.

I, of course, remember (White House Chief of Staff Andy Card) whispering in my ear. I remember the faces of the children. … It was a moment of clarity because people were going to watch how I reacted, and I had enough experience with crises to understand that if you’re head of an organization, it’s important to project calm in the initial stages of a crisis.

The key thing that I tried to do was to say let’s gather facts so we know what’s happening. The problem that I faced — and the truth of the matter is, many in my administration faced — was during certain moments during the day, there was a fog of war, and the information flow was just really inaccurate. … We needed to take steps to make sure that the attack was a four- plane attack, not a 10-plane attack. We just didn’t know. … My mind eventually became focused on finding out who did it and seeking justice, but initially it was respond and prevent.

There were moments when I said I’d like to be alone and just thinking through the ramifications and making sure that my thoughts were clear. I prayed for the victims. I prayed for our country. I would see people jump off buildings, and it just was horrific, but I was also determined to lead the country.

The first two statements were on the fly. I didn’t realize I had missed the mark. … I just did the best I could do given the circumstances, but obviously it wasn’t the best setting for a president to try to calm the nerves of the country. I wanted to speak from the Oval Office. I wasn’t going to address our nation from a bunker. It would have been a huge psychological victory for the people who attacked.

The job of the president was to say here are the facts, here’s what we’re dealing with, and deal with them. Not to feel sorry for yourself, or not to say why did it happen under my watch? That’s not a leadership trait that is admirable. … I felt like I had the capacity to deal with the crisis, and you don’t know until it happens. When I look back on it, I don’t feel a sense of being overwhelmed.
Not that I can think of. I mean, I think the response, laying out tools so that future presidents can have a better chance to protect the country, it’s a legacy that I hope historians will say, ‘It’s a good legacy: He used tools that he thought were necessary and then he helped work with the Congress to codify them, so future presidents, if they so choose, can use those tools.’

My mind was just churning over the events, the response, the information that had been given through a variety of National Security Council meetings. … And then just as I was kind of dozing off, (a Secret Service agent said) ‘Mr. President,’ and off we go. I had the T-shirt on and the running shorts and grabbed Laura, who didn’t have her contacts on, grabbed (dog) Barney. We must have been looking like a motley crew as we headed down. … It was almost surreal, these big pneumatic doors as you’re heading into the bowels of the White House, guys in black uniforms and guns.
I didn’t want to sleep down there because I knew I needed to be rested for the next day, and the bed looked horrible. Harry Truman must have bought the bed. It was one of those pullouts with a metal bar in the middle. I was envisioning Laura and I kind of fighting for the soft space.” — ABC News, 9-11-11

HEADLINES

    • 9/11 Remembered 9/11: The 25 Most Powerful Photos: One decade after 9/11, an unsettling number of images from Ground Zero and its environs remain seared in our collective memory — unsurprising, perhaps, given the scope and scale of the destruction. But the fact that the deadliest, most visually arresting attacks occurred in New York City also meant that many of the world’s best photographers were, in effect, already on the scene when the terrorists struck. Here, to mark the tenth anniversary of 9/11, and in hopes of lending coherence to our shared, turbulent recollections, LIFE.com presents the 25 most stirring, visceral photographs from that day, featuring pictures from the likes of James Nachtwey, Joe Raedle, Spencer Platt, Mario Tama, and other celebrated photojournalists (and one intrepid amateur). These are the pictures we remember: wrenching, indelible photographs that tell the tale of a still- resonant late summer day that changed everything…. – Yahoo News

9/11 LIVE: Scenes from the 9/11 anniversary: As the nation and the world mark the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Associated Press journalists are tracking down the most salient details of the day, and capturing the mood, from ground zero to Afghanistan and everywhere in between…. – AO, 9-11-11

    • Once More, an Outpouring of Grief on 9/11 A Day That Stands Alone in History: Thousands gathered to mark the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that dramatically changed a city and a nation…. – NYT, 9-11-11
    • 9/11 anniversary: Obama’s day, from mourning to hope: It was a day to mourn the memory of things past while hoping that resilience will create a brighter future as President Obama visited all three sites scarred the deadliest act of terrorism in the nation’s history on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. … – LAT, 9-11-11
    • 9/11 anniversary: Obama closes day with “Concert for Hope”: Closing a day of 9/11 remembrances at a “Concert for Hope” in Washington, D.C., President Obama reminded Americans Sunday evening of their resilience as he paid tribute to the losses suffered a decade ago while recalling the country’s enduring values.
      “Ten years ago, America confronted one of our darkest nights,” the president said from the stage of the Kennedy Center along the banks of the Potomac River. “Yet today, it is worth remembering what has not changed.”
      “These past 10 years have shown that America does not give in to fear,’ the president said, citing the rescue workers who rushed to help on Sept. 11, 2001, and the passengers who stormed the cockpit of United Airlines Flight 93.
      Obama hailed the services of the more than 2 million Americans who have served in the volunteer military over the last decade, even as he warned of the price of war…. – LAT, 9-11-11
    • Obama Concludes 9/11 Anniversary at the Kennedy Center: After stops in New York City, Shanksville, PA, and at the Pentagon, the president finished his day of 9/11 tributes with the “Concert for Hope” at Washington, DC’s Kennedy Center. Following performances by the Marine Chamber Orchestra, Washington National Cathedral Choir, Alan Jackson, Denyce Graves, and Patti LaBelle, Obama gave a speech in which he called the United States “stronger than before” the terrorist attacks ten years ago. Opening with a passage from the bible (“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning”), he focused on themes of resilience and sacrifice. Obama also touched on some of the less inspiring byproducts of the tragedy, including the country’s ongoing wars in the Middle East, debates over civil liberties, and racial and religious tensions, making sure to reaffirm that, “The United States will never wage war against Islam or any religion.” Mostly, though, he struck an optimistic tone, telling listeners that future generations would visit 9/11 memorials for a reminder that, “Nothing can break the will of a truly United States of America.”… – New York Magazine, 9-11-11
    • Obama: America does not give in to fear: Ten years after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, America has emerged stronger and its character remains unchanged, President Obama said Sunday.
      “These past 10 years have shown that America does not give in to fear,” the president said at a concert at the Kennedy Center in Washington, the last in a series of events Mr. Obama attended to commemorate the anniversary of the attacks. ” Our people still work in skyscrapers. Our stadiums are filled with fans, and our parks full of children playing ball.”
      The president spoke of young girls who lost their father in the attack on the Twin Towers and said their hopeful future is the “ultimate rebuke” to the terrorists who took their father’s life…. – CBS News, 9-11-11
    • Obama: U.S. Stronger After 9/11: It was a long, solemn Sunday for President Obama, who marked the 9/11 anniversary by saying that the past decade has been “a story of American resilience.” In his final speech of the day in Washington, D.C., on Sunday evening, Obama said that despite the problems of the past 10 years, America is stronger. He said, “It will be said that we kept that faith. That we took a painful blow, and emerged stronger than ever before.” He also reminded Americans that it’s worth remembering what has not changed since the attacks: the nation’s character. He also referred to some of the debates over policy that many have found frustrating in recent months, saying, “It is precisely the rigor of these debates, and our ability to resolve them in a way that honors our values, that is a measure of our strength.”… – The Daily Beast, 9-11-11 USA Today, 9-11-11
    • 9/11 anniversary: Ceremony at World Trade Center 10 years after September 11: Ten years after the darkest day in American history, the families of the victims of the 9/11 attacks and officials including President Obama and former President Bush gathered to honor those lost. Ten years after the darkest day in American history…. – New York Daily News, 9-11-11
    • Obamas ‘particularly moved’ at 911 site: President Obama was impressed by the memorial at the World Trade Center site in Manhattan, and he and the first lady were “particularly moved” by the readings during Sunday’s service there, spokesman Josh Earnest said…. – Politico, 9-11-11
    • Why Obama picked Psalm 46 to read at New York 9-11 anniversary: President Obama read Psalm 46 at the New York ceremony Sunday marking the tenth anniversary of the 9-11 attacks.
      Principal deputy press secretary Josh Earnest explained why Obama selected that psalm. “The President chose a scripture which he believed was most appropriate — he believed it was particularly appropriate to use — to read scripture this morning. And he chose a passage that talks of persevering through very difficult challenges and emerging from those challenges stronger,” Earnest said…. – Chicago Sun-Times, 9-11-11
    • Obama and Bush lead 9/11 observance: Under a sky as clear as the one that filled with flames, smoke and ash the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, tens of thousands of people gathered at the World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan Sunday morning to remember those who died in the terrorist attacks that day and to reflect on the tumultuous decade that followed.
      Ten years after two airplanes flying low over New York struck the twin towers, killing 2,753 people, President Barack Obama was joined by his predecessor, former President George W. Bush, in paying tribute to the victims, their loved ones and a nation changed by force, and by will. Counting the casualties from a third plane that crashed into the Pentagon and a fourth plane crashed by hijackers into a field in Shanksville, Pa., 2,977 people died on 9/11.
      It was the first time Obama and Bush have appeared together at Ground Zero, site of the most deadly of the attacks that defined Bush’s presidency while greatly shaping Obama’s – and it was their first meeting since January, 2010…. – Politico, 9-11-11
    • America marks 10th anniversary of Sept. 11 terror attacks: A moment of silence at the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan. The reading of names in a grassy western Pennsylvania field. A visit, by President Obama, to the Arlington National Cemetery graves of 60 U.S. service members killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.
      With these solemn gestures, Americans across the world began marking the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on the Pentagon in Virginia and World Trade Center in New York.
      Under sunny skies, reminiscent of the clear blue morning 10 years ago when hijackers crashed four jetliners, killing nearly 3,000 people, ceremonies began Sunday morning at Ground Zero. Obama and former president George W. Bush, along with their wives, walked slowly along the North Memorial Pool, where the north Trade Center tower fell…. – WaPo, 9-11-11
    • America Remembers Terror Victims, Honors ‘9/11 Generation of Warriors': AP President Obama lays a wreath as the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks are observed at the Pentagon Sept. 11. Americans told stories of loved ones, read from Scripture and waved the flag Sunday as they honored the memories of those who died…. – Fox News, 9-11-11
    • N.Y.C.: Moments of silence at ground zero: Moments of silence were observed in New York City Sunday on the tenth anniversary of the terror attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center and killed nearly 3,000 people….
      Sixty bagpipe players and drummers led the World Trade flag through the memorial, where the flag was unfolded and held aloft by the Honor Guard…. – CBS News, 9-11-11
    • George W Bush addresses mourning families with Abraham Lincoln letter as he commemorates lives lost on 9/11: Former U.S. President George W Bush read a letter today written by Abraham Lincoln as he addressed the families of thousands of victims killed on 9/11 this morning.
      Commemorating the sacrifices of those lost in the horrific terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Bush cited Lincoln’s letter to Mrs Lydia Bixby, penned in 1864.
      The text, regarded highly among Lincoln’s finest works of writing, addresses a bereaved mother of five sons who were thought to have died while fighting for the Union in the Civil War…. – Daily Mail UK, 9-11-11
    • Bush and Obama: Side by Side: At ground zero, the president defined by his response to Sept. 11 and the one who has tried to take America beyond the lingering, complicated legacy of that day…. – NYT, 9-11-11
    • Bush and Obama: Side by Side at Ground Zero: For the first time on Sunday, President Obama and former President George W. Bush stood together at the site of the Sept. 11 attacks, listening as family members read the names of lost love ones and bowing their heads…. – NYT, 9-11-11
    • At Pentagon, No Words Will Fill Void: Families of the 184 people who died in the attack remember the moment…. – NYT, 9-11-11
    • In Shanksville, a Silent Field: At 10:03 a.m., instead of an explosion, there was quiet remembrance…. – NYT, 9-11-11
    • In Pennsylvania, a Wall of Names: President Obama and his wife, Michelle, placed a large wreath at the memorial…. – NYT, 9-11-11
    • Obama, Bush see raw emotions at 9/11 events: * Obama continues war on militants begun by Bush
      * Two appear together for first time in 18 months
      * Obama: U.S. overcomes slavery, fascism, terrorism (Updates with Obama remarks)
      President Barack Obama picked up where his predecessor George W. Bush left off in the war against Islamic militants after the Sept. 11 attacks, and on Sunday both saw the raw emotions that linger 10 years later.
      The 10th anniversary of the attacks marked the first time the Democratic and Republican presidents have appeared together publicly since January 2010. But, joined by their wives, the two men made a show of solidarity at Ground Zero in New York, walking in tandem along a memorial pool at the site of the north tower of the World Trade Center. [ID:nS1E78A00A]
      They nodded their heads during a moment of silence, the only sound the roaring of the waterfall in the pool.
      Afterward, they appeared together behind bullet-proof glass near where the names of those killed on Sept. 11 were read aloud…. – Reuters, 9-11-11
    • U.S. marks 10 years since 9/11 with solemnity, prayer: With simple and solemn ceremony, the United States marked the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks Sunday with prayer and remembrances at the sites where thousands of Americans died.
      President Barack Obama was joined by former President George W. Bush at the site of the World Trade Center in New York, a moment of bipartisan unity to honor the dead reminiscent of the way the country came together in the wake of the attacks.
      Hand in hand with their wives, they walked to the site as the ceremony opened at 8:46 am, the precise moment the first hijacked plane smashed into the first tower. A church bell rang twice…. – McClatchy Newspapers, 9-11-11
    • Families, dignitaries mourn at World Trade Center in N.Y.: Beneath a cloudless sky eerily reminiscent of the fateful day 10 years ago, officials, families of those killed and other mourners gathered on Sunday in a national day of commemoration at the site of the World Trade Center to recall the terror attack in New York City.
      In a show of unity that crossed party lines, President Obama and former President George W. Bush led dignitaries at the site. They and their wives toured the North Memorial Pool, the scene of the fallen north tower that collapsed on Sept. 11, 2001.
      Each president held his spouse’s hand and the quartet made its way around a wall that is etched with the names of the nearly 3,000 who died in the collapse of the towers.
      Then Obama and Bush hugged some family members of those killed and went over to pay respects to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who rose to national prominence for his handling of the crisis. Also attending were present and former governors…. – LAT, 9-11-11
    • President Obama Honors 9/11 Victims at WTC Site: President Obama and his wife Michelle Obama today paid respect to 9/11 victims by visiting the North Memorial Pool in the footprint of the spot where the north tower of the World Trade Center stood on this 10th anniversary of the terrorist attack…. – ABC News, 9-11-11
    • Remembering those killed in the Sept. 11 attacks: With solemn gestures, Americans across the country mark the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on the Pentagon in Virginia and the World Trade Center in New York…. – WaPo, 9-11-11
    • Americans mark 9/11 anniversary: The United States is commemorating the 10th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, with the country in a sombre mood and on high security alert. President Barack Obama attended a ceremony at the National September 11 Memorial at Ground Zero … – Financial Times, 9-11-11
    • America Remembers the September 11 Attacks: With solemn tributes, the United States is marking the 10th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3000 people and launched the country into a decade of war. Events were held at the sites of each attack a decade ago…. – Voice of America, 9-11-11
    • 9/11 Remembered as Officials Monitor Threat: U.S. President Barack Obama joined former President George W. Bush at the World Trade Center in Manhattan to mark the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that killed almost 3,000 people, reading a passage from the Bible at a ceremony attended by the families of the victims.
      Obama was later greeted with cheers and applause at a memorial in Pennsylvania, where he laid a wreath at the site near Shanksville where one of four hijacked airliners crashed. The New York ceremony, in the shadow of a new skyscraper that will be the tallest building in the U.S., took place while thousands of police officers worked overtime under a terror alert stemming from what Mayor Michael Bloomberg called a “credible but not corroborated” threat.
      The president was joined at Ground Zero by Bloomberg, former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Governors Andrew Cuomo of New York and Christopher Christie of New Jersey. The men read letters, poems and religious passages as surviving family members recited the names of the victims in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. Also honored were the six killed in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center…. – Bloomberg, 9-11-11
    • Ground Zero ceremony honours 9/11 victims: The names of the September 11 dead, some called out by children barely old enough to remember their fallen mothers and fathers, have echoed across Ground Zero in a haunting but hopeful tribute on the 10th anniversary of the terror attacks. … – Sydney Morning Herald, 9-11-11
    • In Shanksville, Thousands Gather to Honor Flight 93 Victims: The dedication of a memorial here on Saturday to the 40 passengers and crew members who died on United Airlines Flight 93 on Sept. 11, 2001, provided an opportunity for two former presidents to appeal for unity.
      Ten years after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a special report on the decade’s costs and consequences, measured in thousands of lives, trillions of dollars and countless challenges to the human spirit.
      Neither George W. Bush nor Bill Clinton specifically mentioned the fractured state of relations in Washington. But their sharing of a stage and their comments here in a field where Flight 93 slammed into the ground stood in sharp contrast to the current discord…. – NYT, 9-10-11
    • United 93 families dedicate Sept. 11 memorial: Vice President Joe Biden joins Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush in Pennsylvania to honor the passengers and crew who fought back that day…. – LAT, 9-10-11
    • Bush, Clinton speak at memorial for Flight 93: Former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton spoke solemnly Saturday at the unveiling of the memorial for victims of United Airlines Flight 93.
      “With their brave decision, they launched the first counteroffensive in the war on terror,” said Bush, who appeared emotional as he spoke near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, to families and friends of those who died in the crash.
      All 40 passengers and crew members were killed after confronting hijackers aboard the Boeing 757 on the morning of September 11, 2001.
      The hijacked plane, widely believed to be targeting the White House or the U.S. Capitol, crashed in a field outside Shanksville…. – CNN, 9-10-11
    • Flight 93 Honored in Pennsylvania: The 40 passengers and crew who fought back against their hijackers aboard Flight 93, which crashed into a field in rural Pennsylvania on Sept. 11 and never reached its target, were honored Saturday for their heroism in a ceremony dedicating the first phase of a memorial at the newest U.S. national park.
      “They never made it because of the determination and valor of the passengers and crew of Flight 93, that plane crashed in this field, less than 20 minutes by air” from Washington, D.C., where it appeared to be headed, said Jon Jarvis, director of the … – WSJ, 9-10-11
    • Obama, Bush, Clinton Remember Sept. 11: Former US presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton are in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, for a ceremony dedicating a memorial to the victims of United Flight 93, which crashed into a field during the September 11th, 2001 attacks. … – Voice of America, 9-10-11
    • Obama tells NBC country is safer than it was 10 years ago: Reflecting on the 9/11 anniversary, President Obama told NBC News this morning that there is no doubt the United States is safer now that it was 10 years ago. He said this is a consequence of more effective homeland security and the US taking the fight…. – ABC News, 9-11-11
    • For 9/11 anniversary, Obama honors war dead at Arlington: President Barack Obama and first lady Michele Obama have visited Arlington National Cemetery where they paid tribute to members of the military killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
      One day before the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, the Obamas made a pilgrimage to Section 60 of the cemetery. The White House says that’s the burial ground for military personnel killed in those two wars. Those conflicts have claimed 6,213 military personnel…. – The Virginian-Pilot, 9-10-11
    • George W. Bush lays wreath at Pentagon: Former President George W. Bush has paid silent tribute to Sept. 11 victims in a wreath-laying at the Pentagon.
      Bush was joined by his wife, Laura, as he placed a wreath of white flowers by the 9/11 memorial stone embedded in the wall outside Corridor 4. That’s near where hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the building, killing 184 people.
      Also at Saturday’s brief ceremony were Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, former Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen…. – Politico, 9-10-11
    • September 11 commemorated by Obama in address: President Barack Obama commemorated Sunday’s 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks in his weekly address Saturday, urging the nation to come together and remember those who lost their lives. “We’re remembering the lives we lost—nearly 3000…. – Politico, 9-11-11
    • Obama pays tribute to 9/11 victims, vows America will be vigilant in weekly address: President Obama will take part in the memorial ceremony at the World Trade Center site Sunday. How concerned are you about a terrorist plot? President Obama used his weekly address to pay tribute to those who lost their lives on Sept 11…. – New York Daily News, 9-10-11
    • President Marks 9/11 Anniversary in Weekly Address: President Barack Obama used his weekly address today to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and pay tribute to the first responders, the nation’s military members, and those who lost their lives…. – Department of Defense, 9-10-11
    • Remembering the audacity of the twin towers: The soaring twin towers of the World Trade Center became an affirmation of the American value of dreaming big. To the engineer who designed them, their loss on 9/11 remains heartbreaking, but he’s found the resilience to keep dreaming…. – CS Monitor, 9-10-11
    • How 9/11 looked from the air-traffic control center that saw it coming: The air-traffic controllers in ‘Boston Center’ – the facility that oversaw Flight 11 – speak of what happened on 9/11, from the confusion of the first moments to the frustration that military jets could not get to New York City faster…. – CS Monitor, 9-10-11
    • Witness: With President Bush after the planes hit on Sept 11: Two Reuters reporters traveled with George W. Bush on September 11, 2001 on what began as a feel-good trip to Florida to promote education.
      Here are some of their memories of that day, and those that followed, as they watched Bush’s evolution from the leader of a country enjoying peace and prosperity to a wartime president…. – Reuters, 9-11-11

Obama’s 9/11 speech: national unity, personal loss: Searching for unity long vanished since the day terrorists astonished America, President Barack Obama will hail national resilience and remember hurting families when he gives the main speech of his Sept. 11 commemorations.
Obama will honor victims at each of the sites where nearly 3,000 people were killed in the 2001 attacks — first at ground zero in lower Manhattan, then in Shanksville, Pa. and at the Pentagon. Yet his only address to the nation will come at night, lasting about 15 minutes during an event at the Kennedy Center in Washington…. – AP, 9-9-11

HISTORICAL INTERPRETATION

    • Richard Norton Smith, Michael Beschloss: Historians Discuss What’s Changed, What Hasn’t After 9/11: From Americans’ collective outrage and response right following the 9/11 attacks to today’s political divisions, Jeffrey Brown speaks with historians Michael Beschloss and Richard Norton Smith about what has changed — and what hasn’t — in the United States since the 9/11 attacks…. – PBS Newshour, 9-121-11

RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University: Well, it’s interesting. We’ve been obsessed understandably with all that’s changed. A great deal has changed. We should begin by acknowledging that the greatest change obviously is for those who lost a loved one 10 years ago today or in the subsequent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Life will never be the same for them.
To the rest of us, there’s a certain amount of trauma. I think geography is a factor. I think if you live in New York, it’s much more real than if you’re in Terre Haute. Much of what has changed, like the proverbial iceberg, is beneath the surface. Government, we’re all thinking about this, the age of cutting back on government, the fact is government has been transformed, expanded by, I saw one estimate $600 billion has been spent over the last ten years on domestic security. New agencies have been created. Old agendas have been torn up.
On the other hand, think of what hasn’t changed. We had a brief moment of unity, of coming together, of common purpose, of collective outrage and a collective response. And that seems very much to be in the rear-view mirror….

Something I think we can take great pride in, and that is if you look back at earlier wars, World War I, World War II, along with the fervor, the patriotic ardor can come fear and civil liberties can be endangered. Famously, German-Americans came under attack during World War I. Sauerkraut was renamed liberty cabbage. Beethoven records were smashed in the streets of Cincinnati. There may be a direct connection between liberty cabbage and freedom fries, but I think there has been an enormous… um, we saw Ray’s piece earlier.

The danger, and I understand her concern, the fact is there will undoubtedly people who say, we’ve built the memorial. You know, we’ve dedicated this shrine, and as you said, there are other problems that are crowding for our attention. History is not static. And certainly not in as dynamic a society as this.
On the other hand, the issues surrounding 9/11, the questions arising out of 9/11, whether it’s civil liberties, for example, or the role of government in protecting us or projecting force around the world American foreign policy, all of those that have been filtered through 9/11 will be at the heart of this election, and so in that sense the conversation goes on.

Come back in 30 or 40 years and ask whether 9/11, in fact, was as some fear the beginning of a longer period of American decline or, in fact, a springboard to a new era of American greatness.

MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, presidential historian: That’s right, you know. And right after 9/11, people said and, you know, you sure wish it had come true, that we would never have the same kind of partisan antagonism we had before because 9/11 brought us all together as Americans. And this would be not only a different country and a different politics. Go back a couple months and take a look at that congressional fight over the debt crisis and you will see that 9/11 sadly did not change our politics in that way.

Well, I think to look at a positive one, it’s you know another thing we all talked about was living in America would never be the same again. That we would be afraid to go to shopping malls, to airports or to train stations or there would be a permanent sadness in some way. Those things have not turned out to be true. So anyone who thinks that there is something in our DNA that really does make this society a group of Americans I think has been proven right.

I think for instance we were talking earlier about our own memories on 9/11. I had just been to my younger son’s kindergarten. He was just about five years old, got in the car to go home and heard the first reports of the plane crashing into the World Trade Center. He was almost five. Changed our lives. He doesn’t remember it. He doesn’t quite get it.

Well, I think one way of looking at it is you know what Churchill said about there is nothing more exhilarating than being shot at without result? We were hit on 9/11. It sure was not without result, but this country really has come back. And so, if you remember where we were ten years ago and compare that to now, I think really we should, while being very sad about what happened and those that lost their lives and their families, there’s an element of this about which we should feel exhilarated.

That is going to depend on how secure the world we live in is during the next couple of decades. If this turned out to be essentially one event, we conquered it then it will be almost a singular event in American history. But if we are living, and I’m afraid this may be true, with the scourge of terrorism through the rest of our lifetimes and beyond, this will be something that essentially opened our eyes to a reality that is going to always be there.

“The people who died on 9/11 weren’t members of the armed forces. They were civilians. They were normal people. That places this in a category all its own as a terrible, terrible day in American history. We’ve had a lot of terrible days in our history, but people never signed up for that…. It’s very visceral for a lot of people. We feel it with our guts, not our heads.” — Jonathan Earle, an associate professor of history at Kansas University

9/11 Left Permanent Scars on the American Psyche A moment in history unlike any other, experts say: “I’m a historian, not a psychologist, but I can tell you that 9/11 has affected the American mentality significantly on several fronts. Of course there’s been a loss of our sense of overall security. And there’s been a loss of our sense of preeminence in the world.
But I think 9/11 has collectively thrown us back, psychologically and politically, into a Cold War mentality. It’s the national belief, not seen since the early to mid-1980s, that we are now, again, in an intractable global struggle with no end in sight. And with that perception of increased vulnerability, there has also been a rise, which many Americans wouldn’t even necessarily realize has taken place, in our willingness to trade off civil liberties and privacy for measures that we believe will make us safer.
It’s very hard to make forecasts about how all this will all play out long-term. But you could argue that, looking back in 50 years, we’ll actually see 9/11 as a major turning point: A permanent change in the American sense of self.” — Ethan Katz, an assistant professor of history at the University of Cincinnati — MSN, 9-11-11

  • Teaching 9/11: How educators are responding 10 years later: Attempts to teach 9/11 has forced educators largely to abandon textbooks in favor of more flexible and vibrant resources – from online art to in-class presentations by witnesses…. – CS Monitor, 9-9-11
  • Teachers tackle lessons of 9/11: The question of when an event becomes history depends on who you ask, said John Johnson, a history professor at the University of Northern Iowa.
    “The sort of old-fashioned view is you need a great deal of perspective, and you probably should give a significant event like 9/11 quite a few years.”
    “I feel different. I believe the more modern view is the morning newspaper or the latest tweet is history.”
    “I would rather have professional historians weighing in on recent events along with everybody else, rather than saying, ‘As a historian, I can’t say anything for 10 years.'”
    “Revisionism is a reality of history, and it is one of the beauties of history because every event will mean different things to different generations and be looked at from different angles.” WCF Courier, 9-11-11

Full Text September 11, 2011: Vice President Joe Biden’s Speech at the 9-11 Memorial at the Pentagon, Washington DC

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

The 10th Anniversary of 9/11

Vice President Biden Marks 9/11 Anniversary at the Pentagon

Source: WH, 9-11-11

Read the Transcript  |  Download Video: mp4 (184MB) | mp3 (18MB)

Vice President Biden and Dr. Biden marked the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks at the Pentagon this morning, where 184 lives were lost when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the west side of the headquarters of the nation’s Department of Defense. Vice President Biden joined Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen at the ceremony set beside the Pentagon Memorial – 184 silver benches, one for each victim, shaded by maple trees.

But before they made their way across the Potomac, the Vice President and Dr. Biden had a quick stop to make – nearby DC Fire Department Engine 20, Truck 12, where they surprised the firefighters on duty with coffee, breakfast, and words of thanks.

Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden thank DC firefighters on 9/11

Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden visit firefighters at D.C. Fire Department Engine 20, truck 12, in Washington, DC., Sep. 11, 2011. The Vice President and Dr. Biden stopped by with coffee and breakfast to thank the firefighters for their service. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

The Vice President later remarked on the heroism displayed by DCFD firefighters and other first responders from across the region 10 years ago today. “They sprang to action,” he said, “risking their lives so their friends, their colleagues and total strangers, people they had never met, might live.”

But speaking directly to the families in the audience, Vice President Biden noted something they knew in their hearts before that fateful day. “That your loved ones, those who you lost, who we now call heroes, were already heroes. They were already heroes to you.”

Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the Pentagon on 9/11

Vice President Joe Biden speaks in front of the Pentagon during a 9/11 Anniversary Service at the Pentagon, in Arlington, VA. Sep. 11, 2011. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

“They were the father that tucked you in at night,” he said.  They were the wife who knew your fears before even before you expressed them.  They were the brother who lifted you up.  They were the daughter who made you laugh, and the son who made you proud. … I know in my heart, so do all of the people on this stage know, that they are absolutely irreplaceable – absolutely irreplaceable.”
Vice President Biden went on to describe how out of this tragedy came a new generation of patriots, the 9/11 generation – 2.8 million of whom joined the military since 9/11.
“The true legacy of 9/11 is that our spirit is mightier, the bonds that unite us are thicker, and the resolve is firmer than the million tons of limestone and concrete that make up that great edifice behind me,” the Vice President said. “Al Qaeda and bin Laden never imagined that the 3,000 people who lost their lives that day would inspire 3 million to put on the uniform and harden the resolve of 300 million Americans.  They never imagined the sleeping giant they were about to awaken. They never imagined these things because they did not understand what enables us, what has always enabled us to withstand any test that comes our way.”

 POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by Vice President Biden at the Pentagon 9/11 10th Anniversary Commemoration

Source: WH, 9-11-11
The Pentagon

10:00 A.M. EDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Good morning.  Mr. Secretary, it’s I’m the one who is honored to be given the privilege to speak at such an important memorial ceremony.

Admiral Mullen, Speaker Boehner, members of our armed forces and above all, the family members gathered in front of me who suffered such a grievous loss here 10 years ago today.  My wife, Jill, and I want you to know our heart goes out to you.

And those of you who survived that cowardly act, I say it again, I’m the one that’s honored to be here with you.  To the family members, I know what it’s like to receive that call out of the blue, that the dearest thing in your life is gone.  I know these memorials — and you’ve been through many — are bittersweet moments for you because as you sit here right now, unlike a month ago, everything has come back in stark relief.  It’s not a thought.  It’s precise.  You remember that God-awful empty feeling you remember being sucked into your own chest, that feeling of hollowness.  So I want you to know that I personally believe that the courage you’re showing today is remarkable.  It’s hard to come back.  You have that sense of overwhelming pride and love and devotion, but also that feeling of “oh, my God.”

But I want you to know something else, your physical presence here today gives hope to thousands of Americans who under different circumstances are trying to come to grips with the losses that you had that they’re going through.  Because when they see — they see you here, you let them know that hope can grow from tragedy, and that there can be a second life.

My mom used to say, Joe, at everything terrible something good will come if you look hard enough for it.  In the beginning there’s no way to believe that.  You’re living proof to those people who are still scrambling and looking for that hope that it’s possible.

So let me say that our thoughts — Jill’s thoughts, mine, the whole nation’s thoughts and prayers are with those who also were wounded in this attack last night — wounded in an attack last night in Wardak Province, a stark and vivid reminder this war continues.  The courage, determination and the sacrifices of our forces in Afghanistan and around the world is literally astounding.  I’ll have a little more to say about that in just a moment.

Ladies and gentlemen, milestones are especially — and especially those that are tragic -— compel us to reflect and to remember, to honor and, with God’s help, to heal because that’s what this is ultimately about.

And so today, above all else, we recall 148 [sic] lives cut short on this site 10 years ago this morning -— lives that touched every aspect of our national endeavor: a Marine who lost his leg, and nearly his life, in Vietnam but who used what he called a “second chance” to become a father of five; a three-year-old passenger aboard that fateful flight, who held her stuffed “lambie” each night, as her parents read her bedtime stories; the secretary who worked for American Airlines for 45 years, whose colleagues considered her a second mother, and who dressed as Mrs. Claus each Christmas; the Navy physicist, whose wife said after his death: “He was a wonderful dancer.  I’ll never be able to dance with anybody else.  He was a perfect partner.  And above all, he was a good, caring and loving man.”

And so, so many others are remembered this morning with the moments of silence in small towns and bustling cities all across this country.  But nowhere are the memories more immediate, more vivid, more compelling, more real than in New York City; Shanksville, Pennsylvania and right here in Northern Virginia at the Pentagon.

Although words cannot ease the pain of these losses -— paying tribute by recalling not just the horror of that day but the heroism as well can hopefully give you some comfort and stiffen the resolve of this nation.

At 9:36 a.m., thousands of patriotic Americans were going about their daily business in the building behind me, in this great citadel of our national defense.  And one minute later, 9:37 a.m., an unconscionable tragedy struck.

But what happened — what happened after that was far more remarkable than the damage inflicted in the building behind me. Those who worked in this building, many of you in front of me, and thousands more first responders across the region –firefighters from Arlington County, Fairfax County, Montgomery County, the District of Columbia and many others, they sprang to action, risking their lives so their friends, their colleagues and total strangers, people they had never met, might live.

From corporals to cafeteria workers, right up the chain of the command to the top brass, to Secretary Rumsfeld, who I pay special tribute today; I understand he is here.  Secretary Rumsfeld himself did what he did as a young soldier, a young man, and did all his life — you and he and others streamed into that breach between the 4th and 5th corridors, where the devastation was the greatest, where death came in an instant, but also where there were survivors to be found.

Specialist Beau Doboszenski was a tour guide that morning, on the far side of the building -— so far away, in fact, he never heard the plane hit.  But he shortly felt the commotion.  He could have gone home -— no one would have blamed him.  But he was also a trained EMT and came from a family of firefighters. So when people started streaming out of the building and screaming, he sprinted toward the crash site.  For hours, he altered between treating his co-workers and dashing into the inferno with a team of six men.

Micky Fyock, a volunteer fire chief in Woodsboro, Maryland, 60 miles away, after working all day, when he heard that evening that the rescue workers at the Pentagon needed a fire truck — a small fire truck, small enough to fit through tight places, he knew he had a ‘54 Mack, which was the smallest one around.  So fresh off an all-day shift, he barreled down the highway and battled the blaze all night with thousands of others.

And at dawn, exhausted and covered with soot — with soot, 14 hours on the job, he sat on a bench and confronted [sic] a man — a man who he said was wondering aloud, why am I still alive for had I not been at the dentist, I would have been in the office, my office, totally destroyed, with my colleagues gone.  Why me?

It’s a basic American instinct to respond to crises when help is needed, to confront [sic] the afflicted.   An American instinct summoned by the collective strength of the American people that we see come to the fore in our darkest hours, an instinct that echoes through the ages -— from Pearl Harbor, to Beirut; from Mogadishu to Ground Zero; Flight 93 to right here in the Pentagon.

Those in this building that day knew what they were witnesses.  It was a declaration of war by stateless actors — bent on changing our way of life — who believed that these horrible acts of terror — these horrible acts of terror directed against innocents could buckle our knees, could bend our will, could being to break us and break our resolve.

But they did not know us.  Instead, that same American instinct that sent all of you into the breach between the 4th and 5th corridors, galvanized an entire new generation of patriots —- the 9/11 Generation.

Many of them were just kids on that bright September morning.  But like their grandparents on December 7, 1941, they courageously bore the burden that history had placed on their shoulders.

And as they came of age, they showed up — they showed up to fight for their country, and they’re still showing up.  Two million, eight hundred thousand of that 9/11 Generation moved to join our military since the attacks on 9/11, to finish the war begun here that day.

And they joined — they joined knowing that they were in all likelihood going to be deployed in harm’s way -— and in many cases deployed multiple, multiple times in Afghanistan and Iraq and other dangerous parts of the world.

Those of you, Admiral, who command this building turned this generation, this 9/11 Generation into the finest group of warriors the world has ever known.

Over a decade at war, they pioneered new tactics, mastered new languages, developed and employed advanced new technologies.  They took on responsibilities once reserved only for those with considerably more seniority -— responsibilities that extended beyond the base or the battlefield to the politics of Afghanistan, to the politics of Iraq, to the economies of those countries, and to the development tasks that ultimately will lay the groundwork for us to leave behind stable countries that will not threaten us.

And along with the intelligence community and the law enforcement community, they relentlessly took the fight to al Qaeda and its affiliates.  They were prepared to follow bin Laden to the hell’s gate if necessary.  And they got him.

My God do we owe those special ops folks and intelligence guys who got him, many of whom have subsequently lost their lives.  But we will not stop -— you will not stop —- until al Qaeda is not only disrupted, but completely dismantled and ultimately destroyed.

And one more thing about this 9/11 generation of warriors — never before in our history has America asked so much, over such a sustained period, of an all-volunteer force.  So I can say without fear of contradiction, or being accused of exaggeration, the 9/11 Generation ranks among the greatest our nation has ever produced.  And it was born — it was born — it was born right here on 9/11.  (Applause.)

And as the Admiral said, that generation has paid an incredible price -— 4,478 fallen angels in Iraq and 1,648 in Afghanistan, and more than 40,000 wounded in both countries, some who will require care and support the rest of their lives.

Having visited them multiple times like many of you, I am awed not only by their capability, but their sacrifice today and every day.

The terrorists who attacked the Pentagon, as Leon said, sought to weaken America by shattering this defining symbol of our military might and prowess.  But they failed.  And they also failed for another reason, not just physically failed.  They failed because they continue to fundamentally misunderstand us, as they misunderstood us on that day.  For the true source of American power does not lie within that building because as Americans, we draw our strength from the rich tapestry of our people — just looking at the people before me, looking at the families before me.

The true legacy of 9/11 is that our spirit is mightier, the bonds that unite us are thicker, and the resolve is firmer than the million tons of limestone and concrete that make up that great edifice behind me.

Al Qaeda and bin Laden never imagined that the 3,000 people who lost their lives that day would inspire 3 million to put on the uniform and harden the resolve of 300 million Americans.  They never imagined the sleeping giant they were about to awaken.

They never imagined these things because they did not understand what enables us, what has always enabled us to withstand any test that comes our way.  But you understood.  You knew better than anyone because you knew every time this nation has been attacked — you particularly who wear the uniform — every time this nation is attacked, you knew it only emboldens us to stand up and to strike back.

But you family members, you also knew something else that a lot of us didn’t know that day, that your loved ones, those who you lost, who we now call heroes, were already heroes.  They were already heroes to you.

They were the father that tucked you in at night.  They were the wife who knew your fears before even before you expressed them.  They were the brother who lifted you up.  They were the daughter who made you laugh, and the son who made you proud.  I know.  I know in my heart, so do all of the people on this stage know, that they are absolutely irreplaceable — absolutely irreplaceable.

As the Speaker heard me say yesterday in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, no memorial, no ceremony, no words will ever fill the void left in your hearts by their loss.  My prayer for you is that, 10 years later, when you think of them — 10 years later when you think of them that it brings a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eye.

My mom used to say that courage lies in every man’s heart, and her expectation was that one day — one day it would be summoned.  Well, here, on September 11, 2001, at exactly 9:37 a.m., it was summoned.  It was summoned from the hearts of the thousands of people who worked here to save hundreds.  It was summoned in the hearts of all those first responders who answered the call.  For courage lies deepest in and beats the loudest in the heart of Americans.  Don’t forget it.  We will not forget them.

May God bless you all.  May God bless America.  And most of all, may God protect our Troops.  (Applause.)

END
10:20 A.M. EDT

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