For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 18, 2001
Remarks by the President
At Meeting with Charitable Organizations
the Rose Garden
11:46 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Please be
seated. Welcome. Last week, America suffered
greatly. Thousands of our citizens lost
lives. Thousands were hurt. But thousands of our
citizens rose to the occasion to help.
Last week was a really horrible week for
America. But out of our tears and sadness, we saw the best
of America as well. We saw a great country rise up to help.
Tens of millions of dollars and thousands
of hours and tons of food and clothing have all been donated to help
rebuild shattered lives. Americans' love for America was channeled
through our nation's great charities. And as President of
this great land, nothing made me more proud.
In the week since the attack, our
compassion and generous citizens have led the first phase in the war on
terrorism. They have sustained and strengthened the home
front. Today, I'm joined by representatives of charities
which have brought relief to citizens in New York City and Virginia,
Pennsylvania. We've got representatives of firefighters,
police officers, entrepreneurs who have helped out all across America.
We've got many good citizens here who
represent the large national charities like the American Red Cross, the
Salvation Army, and the United Way. We've got folks here in
the nation's Rose Garden who represent the community-based programs and
faith-based programs, firefighter and police associations, local
businesses, nonprofits. Large and small, these important
charitable efforts are saving lives and, as importantly, are restoring
I'm also joined by Libby Pataki, the
better half of the Governor of New
York. (Applause.) Tony Carbonetti, the Chief of
Staff to Rudy Giuliani -- (applause) -- and my friends and former
fellow Governors -- actually, they're Governors, I was a former
governor -- Jim Gilmore and Tom
Ridge. (Applause.) These Governors and their
wives and the Mayor of New York have shown impressive leadership --
impressive leadership -- in the face of the challenges that faced their
cities and their states.
They put public agencies on full alert to
provide immediate assistance to victims and their families; and for all
those who helped, out nation is most grateful. They've
called on the men and women of the National Guard to help maintain calm
and order. And we thank those who wear the uniform as
well. And they've led and supported valiant rescue workers
in New York City and northern Virginia, whose bravery is seared into
our national consciousness.
I was honored to be able to stand amidst
the rescue workers and looked in their eyes and saw the determination
that would make all Americans proud. In spite of their
exhaustion, in spite of the fact that they had worked themselves into a
state of total fatigue, they still wanted to keep fighting on for their
fellow brothers and sisters trapped in the rubble.
Mayor Giuliani, and Pataki, have led New
York City through its most difficult of all days, and they have done so
with class and bravery and distinction. And we owe them a
debt of gratitude. (Applause.) The Mayor, the
Governors, all New Yorkers, have demonstrated the very best American
values to a world that has been watching to see how our nation would
The world watches the great country called
America, and they say: What will they do? What will
Americans do? And what they've seen is the best of
America. They've seen leadership, they've seen courage, and
as importantly, they've seen compassion.
Last evening marked the start of Rosh
Hashana. In Jewish teaching, this holy day is the
anniversary of the creation of the world. It is a season of
renewal and of hope, and people of every faith, all across America,
embraced that spirit of renewal and hope.
Funds in New York and Washington are
providing food, clothing and financial help to husbands and wives and
sons and daughters who suffer mightily. Citizens near Ground
Zero in New York have provided sandwiches, drinks and clean clothes to
the tired and hungry rescue workers.
And in one of America's greatest
traditions, a handful of entrepreneurs from Springfield, Virginia
collected $600 by selling lemonade, and gave it to the Red Cross.
These acts of generosity and kindness are
spreading all across America. There are challenges that
remain for those who suffer today; make no mistake about
it. We've got a lot of work to do as a
nation. And these good efforts, these good, charitable,
compassionate efforts need the full support of Americans everywhere.
People all across the country are asking
how they can help. What can they do to provide
hope. What can they do to help heal the wounds by helping
their fellow Americans. Well, there are many ways to
contribute. Local stores and businesses on Main Street America are
collecting money to send to appropriate relief and help
agencies. National media organizations are helping
collect. Internet portals providing an interesting
opportunity for people to contribute and provide their help.
Many of the charities, themselves, welcome
donations through web sites. So I urge my fellow Americans
to continue contributing through web sites. If you're
interested in helping, call up one of the great charities of America
Thus far, I'm proud to report through the
web sites of our charities, Americans have donated $55 million in seven
short days. Some of America's high-tech leaders, AOL/Time
Warner and Microsoft, Amazon, Ebay, Cisco Systems and Yahoo have joined
together in a private effort to encourage on-line giving so that we can
funnel resources to help our citizens in need.
They have formed what's called "The
American Liberty Partnership." It has a web site called
"LIBERTYUNITES.ORG." And this will help Americans find out
how to help. If a concerned American wants to help a
neighbor in need, even though the neighborhood might not be right next
to each other, they can get on "LIBERTYUNITES.ORG," and find out how to
help. And I urge my fellow Americans to do so.
Americans can not only make on-line
donations, they can figure out where to send food, where to donate
blood, where to give clothes. They can find out how best to
donate their time.
Now, it's important to realize that at
this moment, many of our charities are overwhelmed by the public
response. That's the kind of problem we like in
America. But because the portals may be jammed, because the
phones may be busy, is not an excuse for Americans not to continue to
fight to help their neighbors.
And so, I ask my fellow Americans to be
patient with those charities that want their help, to keep trying to
give, to not lose sight of the mission. And that is, we'll
fight terrorism on all fronts. We will not be terrorized so
that their hearts are hardened.
Nobody can threaten this
country. Oh, they may be able to bomb buildings and
obviously disrupt lives. But we're too great a nation to
allow the evil-doers to affect our soul and our spirit.
Today, I herald the soul and spirit of
America with live examples of people who have made a huge difference,
and those who suffer and those who hurt. This is a great
land. It's a great land, because our people are so decent
and strong and compassionate.
God bless. (Applause.)