Message to America
Thank you very much. I'm honored to address all of you as you gather to remember the events of September the 11th, and to honor the victims, and the heroes.
One year later, we still remember where we were when we first saw the images of the terrorist attacks. We remember how we felt that day: our sadness, the surge of love for our country, and our determination to right this huge wrong.
On a Tuesday morning last September, America went from a feeling of security to one of vulnerability; from peace to war; from a time of calm to a great and noble cause. We were called to defend liberty against tyranny and terror, and we have answered that call. We will bring security to our people, and justice to our enemies.
In the past 12 months, we have seen the true character of our country. We have learned of firefighters who wrote their Social Security numbers on their arms with felt-tipped pens to mark and identify their bodies, and then rushed into burning buildings. We have learned of the desperate courage of passengers on Flight 93, average citizens who led the first counter-attack in the war on terror.
We watched the searchers, month after month, fulfill their duty, and New Yorkers line the streets to cheer them on their way to work each morning. And in these events, we were reminded that the achievements that last and count in life come through service to others.
Many ask, "What can I do to help in our fight?" And the answer is simple. All of us can become a September the 11th volunteer by making a commitment to service in our own communities. You can serve your country by tutoring or mentoring a child, comforting the afflicted, housing those in need of shelter. Whatever your talent, whatever your background, each of you can do something.
I established the USA Freedom Corps office in the White House to promote a culture of service and citizenship, and responsibility, to help Americans find service opportunities in their communities. By visiting usafreedomcorps.gov or calling 1-877-USA-CORPS, you can find out how to use your time and talents to help neighbors in need.
America needs more than voters and taxpayers. America needs full-time citizens. America needs men and women who respond to the call of duty, who stand up for the weak, who speak up for their beliefs, who sacrifice for a greater good.
We are commanded by God, and called by our conscience to love others as we would want to be loved ourselves. Let us continue to answer that call every day we are given. As Americans, this is the way we will move forward: conscious of what we have suffered, confident in who we are, and certain we will prevail.
May we never forget those who died on September the 11th. And may God bless America.
Message to the World
My country will always remember the outpouring of friendship and support from nations around the world in the wake of September the 11th. On behalf of all Americans, I thank the millions of people from every nation who share our grief over the loss of innocent life, and who share our resolve to lift the dark cloud of terror from our world.
Many nations and many families have lived in the shadow of terrorism for decades, and during years of mindless and merciless killing. September the 11th was not the beginning of global terror, but it was the beginning of the world's concerted response. History will remember that day not only as a day of tragedy, but as a day of decision, when the civilized world was stirred to anger and to action. And the terrorists will remember September the 11th as the day their reckoning began.
We face an enemy of ruthless ambition, unconstrained by law or morality. The terrorists who attacked on September the 11th despise other religions, and have defiled their own. And they are determined to expand the scale and scope of their murder. The terror that targeted New York and Washington one year ago could strike any center of civilization.
Against such an enemy, there is no immunity, and there can be no neutrality. A mighty coalition of civilized nations is now defending our common security. Terrorist assets have been frozen; terrorist front groups have been exposed. A terrorist regime has been toppled from power. Terrorist plots have been unraveled from Spain to Singapore. And thousands of terrorists have been brought to justice, or are in prison, or are running for fear of their lives.
In the current stage of our campaign, our coalition is not opposing a nation, but a network. Victory will come over time, as that network is patiently and steadily dismantled.
There's a great divide in our time -- not between religions or cultures, but between civilization and ruthless violence. People of all cultures wish to live in safety and dignity. The hope of justice and mercy and better lives are common to all humanity. Our enemies reject these values, and by doing so they set themselves not only against the United States, but against the entire world.
None of us would ever wish the evil that was done on September the 11th. Yet out of that great evil can come great good. I see a day when the threat of organized terror is broken. When that day comes, many old conflicts will appear in a new light. Without the constant fear and cycle of bitterness that terrorists spread with their violence, we will see then that old and serious disputes can be settled peacefully, within the bounds of reason, goodwill, and mutual security.
We have a chance to write a new and hopeful chapter in
human history, a story of courage defeating cruelty and light overcoming
darkness. This calling is worthy of any life, and of every nation.
May God bless freedom-loving people everywhere.