President Bush address a
crowd that includes members of the postal service, fire departments,
and law enforcement at the Georgia World Congress Center Thursday,
Nov. 8, 2001 in Atlanta.
Postal workers and
Bush in Atlanta.
Bush urged the nation
to meet "our great national challenge" to win the war against
and protect America against future attacks. The President said
Washington was doing its part.
text of President George W. Bush's
address to America before representatives
of firemen, law enforcement officers,
and postal workers in Atlanta, Ga.
on November 8, 2001.
fellow Americans, let's roll."
"We have gained
meet tonight after two of the most difficult and most inspiring months
in our nation's history.
We have endured the shock of watching so many innocent lives ended in
acts of unimaginable
horror. We have endured the sadness of so many funerals. We have faced
bioterrorist attacks delivered in our mail.
Tonight, many thousands of children are tragically learning to live
without one of their parents.
And the rest of us are learning to live in a world that seems very
different than it was on
September the 10th.
The moment the second plane hit the second building, when we knew it was
a terrorist attack,
many felt that our lives would never be the same.
What we couldn't be sure of then and what the terrorists never expected
was that America
would emerge stronger with a renewed spirit of pride and patriotism.
I said in my speech to a joint session of Congress that we are a nation
awakened to danger.
We're also a nation awakened to service and citizenship and compassion.
None of us would ever wish the evil that has been done to our country,
yet we have learned
that out of evil can come great good.
During the last two months, we have shown the world, America is a great
Americans have responded magnificently with courage and caring. We've
seen it in our children
who have sent in more than $1 million for the children of Afghanistan.
We have seen it in the
compassion of Jewish and Christian Americans who have reached out to
their Muslim neighbors.
We've seen it as Americans have reassessed priorities: parents spending
more time with their
children and many people spending more time in prayer and in houses of
We have gained new heroes, those who ran into burning buildings to save
others: our police
and our firefighters.
Those who battle their own fears to keep children calm and safe:
Those who voluntarily place themselves in harm's way to defend our
freedom: the men and
women of the armed forces.
And tonight we join in thanking a whole new group of public servants who
never enlisted to
fight a war, but find themselves on the front lines of a battle
nonetheless: those who deliver
the mail, America's postal workers.
We also thank those whose quick response provided preventative treatment
that has no
doubt saved thousands of lives: our health care workers.
We are a different country than we were on September the 10th, sadder
and less innocent,
stronger and more united. And in the face of ongoing threats, determined
Our nation faces a threat to our freedoms, and the stakes could not be
higher. We are the
target of enemies who boast they want to kill, kill all Americans, kill
all Jews and kill all Christians.
We've seen that type of hate before, and the only possible response is
to confront it and to
This new enemy seeks to destroy our freedom and impose its views. We
value life; the
terrorists ruthlessly destroy it.
We value education; the terrorists do not believe women should be
educated, or should have
health care, or should leave their homes.
We value the right to speak our minds; for the terrorists, free
expression can be grounds for
We respect people of all faiths and welcome the free practice of
religion; our enemy
wants to dictate how to think and how to worship, even to their fellow
This enemy tries to hide behind a peaceful faith. But those who
celebrate the murder of
innocent men, women and children have no religion, have no conscience
and have no mercy.
We wage a war to save civilization itself.
We did not seek it, but we will fight it and we will prevail.
This is a different war from any our nation has ever faced, a war on
many fronts, against
terrorists who operate in more than 60 different countries. And this is
a war that must be
fought not only overseas, but also here at home.
I recently spoke to high school students in Maryland and realized that
for the first time ever
these seniors will graduate in the midst of a war in our own country.
We have entered a new era, and this new era requires new
responsibilities, both for the
government and for our people.
The government has a responsibility to protect our citizens, and that
starts with homeland
security. The first attack against America came by plane, and we are now
making our airports
and airplanes safer. We have posted the National Guard in America's
airports and placed
undercover air marshals on many flights.
I call on Congress to quickly send me legislation that makes cockpits
more secure, baggage
screening more thorough, and puts the federal government in charge of
all airport screening
The second attack against America came in the mail. We do not know
whether this attack
came from the same terrorists. We don't know the origin of the anthrax.
But whoever did this
unprecedented and uncivilized act is a terrorist.
Four Americans have now died from anthrax out of a total of 17 people
who have been
infected. The Postal Service has processed more than 30 billion pieces
of mail since September
the 11th, and so far we've identified three different letters that
We can trace the source of infection for all but one of the individuals,
and we are still trying
to learn how a woman who died in New York was exposed.
I'm proud of the way our health care and postal workers and the American
people are responding
with calm in the face of this deadly new threat.
Public health officials have acted quickly to distribute preventative
antibiotics to thousands of
people who may have been exposed. The government is purchasing and
storing medicines and
vaccines as a precaution against future attacks. We are cleaning
facilities where anthrax has
been detected and purchasing equipment to sanitize the mail.
Thousands of law enforcement officials are aggressively investigating
this bioterrorism attack,
and public health officials are distributing the most accurate,
up-to-date information we have
to medical professionals and to the public.
To coordinate our efforts, we have created the new Office of Homeland
Security. Its director,
my good friend and former Governor Tom Ridge, reports directly to me and
works with all of
our federal agencies, state and local governments and the private sector
on a national strategy
to strengthen our homeland protections.
For example, the Coast Guard has taken on expanded duties to protect our
shores and our
ports. The National Guard has an increased role in surveillance at our
border. We're imposing
new licensing requirements for safer transportation of hazardous
We've passed a new anti-terrorism law, which gives our law enforcement
officers the necessary
tools to track terrorists before they harm Americans. A new terrorism
task force is tightening immigration controls to make sure no one enters or stays in our country
who would harm us.
We are a welcoming country. We will always value freedom, yet we will
not allow those who
plot against our country to abuse our freedoms and our protections.
Our enemies have threatened other acts of terror. We take each threat
seriously. And when
we have evidence of credible threats, we will issue appropriate alerts.
A terrorism alert is not a signal to stop your life. It is a call to be
vigilant, to know that your
government is on high alert and to add your eyes and ears to our efforts
to find and stop
those who want to do us harm.
A lot of people are working really hard to protect America, but in the
long run, the best way
to defend our homeland, the best way to make sure our children can live
in peace, is to take
the battle to the enemy and to stop them.
I have called our military into action to hunt down the members of the
who murdered innocent Americans. I gave fair warning to the government
that harbors them
in Afghanistan. The Taliban made a choice to continue hiding terrorists
and now they're paying
I am so proud of our military ... our military is pursuing its mission.
We are destroying training camps, disrupting communications and
dismantling air defenses. We
are now bombing Taliban front lines. We are deliberately and
systematically hunting down
these murderers and we will bring them to justice.
Throughout this battle, we adhere to our values. Unlike our enemy, we
respect life. We do not
target innocent civilians.
We care for the innocent people of Afghanistan, so we continue to
provide humanitarian aid,
even while their government tries to steal the food we send.
When the terrorists and their supporters are gone, the people of
Afghanistan will say with the
rest of the world, " Good riddance."
We are at the beginning of our efforts in Afghanistan, and Afghanistan
is only the beginning of
our efforts in the world. No group or nation should mistake Americans'
intentions. Where terrorist
groups exist of global reach, the United States and our friends and
allies will seek it out, and we
will destroy it.
After September the 11th, our government assumed a new responsibility to
at home and track down our enemies abroad.
And the American people are accepting new responsibilities as well.
I recently received a letter from a fourth grade girl that seemed to say
"I don't know how to feel,'' she said. "Sad, mad, angry. It
has been different lately. I know
the people in New York are scared because of the World Trade Center and
all, but if we're
scared, we are giving the terrorists all the power."
In the face of this great tragedy, Americans are refusing to give
terrorists the power.
Our people have responded with courage and compassion, calm and reason,
resolve and fierce
determination. We have refused to live in a state of panic or a state of
denial. There is a
difference between being alert and being intimidated, and this great
nation will never be
People are going about their daily lives, working and shopping and
playing, worshipping at
churches and synagogues and mosques, going to movies and to baseball
Life in America is going forward, and as the fourth grader who wrote me
knew, that is the
ultimate repudiation of terrorism.
And something even more profound is happening across our country. The
enormity of this
tragedy has caused many Americans to focus on the things that have not
changed, the things
that matter most in life: our faith, our love for family and friends,
our commitment to our country
and to our freedoms and to our principles.
In my inaugural address, I asked our citizens to serve their nation,
beginning with their neighbors.
This fall I had planned a new initiative called Communities of
Character, designed to spark a
rebirth of citizenship and character and service. The events of
September the 11th have
caused that initiative to happen on its own in ways we could never have
Flags are flying everywhere: on houses, in store windows, on cars, in
lapels. Financial donations
to the victims' families have reached more than $1 billion.
Countless Americans gave blood in the aftermath of the attacks. New
Yorkers opened their
homes to evacuated neighbors. We are waiting patiently in long security
lines. Children across
America have organized lemonade and cookie sales for children in
And we can do more.
Since September the 11th, many Americans, especially young Americans,
are rethinking their
career choices. They are being drawn to careers of service as police or
health workers, teachers, counselors or in the military. And this is
good for America.
Many ask, "What can I do to help in our fight?'' The answer is
simple. All of us can become a
September the 11th volunteer by making a commitment to service in our
own communities. So
you can serve your country by tutoring or mentoring a child, comforting
the afflicted, housing
those in need of shelter and a home.
You can participate in your neighborhood watch or Crimestoppers. You can
become a volunteer
in a hospital, emergency medical, fire or rescue unit. You can support
our troops in the field and,
just as importantly, support their families here at home by becoming
active in the USO or groups
in communities near our military installations.
We also will encourage service to country by creating new opportunities
within the AmeriCorps
and Senior Corps programs for public safety and public health efforts.
We will ask state and local officials to create a new modern civil
defense service, similar to
local volunteer fire departments, to respond to local emergencies when
the manpower of
governments is stretched thin.
We will find ways to train and mobilize more volunteers to help when
rescue and health
Americans have a lot to offer, so I've created a task force to develop
additional ways people
can get directly involved in this war effort, by making our homes and
schools and workplaces safer.
And I call on all Americans to serve by bettering our communities and
thereby defy and defeat
Our great nation-national challenge is to hunt down the terrorists and
strengthen our protection
against future attacks. Our great national opportunity is to preserve
forever the good that has
resulted. Through this tragedy, we are renewing and reclaiming our
strong American values.
Both Laura and I were touched by a recent newspaper article that quoted
a little 4-year-old
girl who asked a telling and innocent question. Wondering how terrorists
could hate a whole
nation of people they don't even know, she asked, "Why don't we
just tell them our names?"
Well, we can't tell them all our names, but together, we can show them
Too many have the wrong idea of Americans as shallow, materialist
consumers who care only
about getting rich or getting ahead. But this isn't the America I know.
Ours is a wonderful nation full of kind and loving people, people of
faith who want freedom and
opportunity for people everywhere. One way to defeat terrorism is to
show the world the true
values of America through the gathering momentum of a million acts of
decency and service.
I am encouraging school children to write letters of friendship to
Muslim children in different
countries. Our college students and those who travel abroad for business
or vacation can all
be ambassadors of American values.
Ours is a great story and we must tell it through our words and through
I came to Atlanta today to talk about an all important question: How
should we live in the light
of what has happened?
We all have new responsibilities. Our government has the responsibility
to hunt down our
enemies, and we will. Our government has the responsibility to put
needless partisanship behind
us and meet new challenges: better security for our people and help for
those who have lost
jobs and livelihoods in the attacks that claimed so many lives.
I made some proposals to stimulate economic growth, which will create
new jobs and make
America less dependent on foreign oil. And I ask Congress...
And I ask Congress to work hard and put a stimulus plan into law to help
the American people.
Our citizens have new responsibilities. We must be vigilant. Obviously,
we must inspect our mail,
stay informed on public health matters.
We will not give in to exaggerated fears or passing rumors. We will rely
on good judgment and
good old common sense. We will care for those who've lost loved ones and
comfort those who
might, at times, feel afraid.
We will not judge fellow Americans by appearance, ethnic background or
We will defend the values of our country, and we will live by them. We
will persevere in this
struggle no matter how long it takes to prevail.
Above all, we will live in a spirit of courage and optimism. Our nation
was born in that spirit,
as immigrants yearning for freedom courageously risked their lives in
search of greater
That spirit of optimism and courage still beckons people across the
world who want to come
here. And that spirit of optimism and courage must guide those of us
fortunate enough to
Courage and optimism led the passengers on Flight 93 to rush their
murderers to save lives
on the ground - led by a young man whose last known words were the
Lord's Prayer and,
He didn't know he had signed on for heroism when he boarded the plane
Some of our greatest moments have been acts of courage for which no one
could have ever
We will always remember the words of that brave man expressing the
spirit of a great country.
We will never forget all we have lost and all we are fighting for.
Ours is the cause of freedom. We've defeated freedom's enemies before,
and we will defeat
We cannot know every turn this battle will take, yet we know our cause
is just and our
ultimate victory is assured. We will no doubt face new challenges, but
we have our
President Bush's busy
day begins by meeting
Cardoso at the White
House in the morning.
In the early afternoon
of November 8, 2001
President Bush meets
with Irish PM Ahern
at the White House.
President Bush leaves
the White House for
Atlanta with Homeland
Security chief T. Ridge.
Atlanta police intensify
the security at CDC
Headquarters prior to
On November 8, 2001
President George W.
Bush tours the Center
for Disease Control (CDC)
in Atlanta, becoming the
first sitting President
to ever tour the facility.
President Bush's last
official function for
November 8, 2001 is an
early evening speech
in Atlanta, Georgia.
More September Attack Speeches
By U.S. President George W. Bush
Speeches (2) to America on September 11, 2001
Speech to Congress on September 20, 2001
U.S. Airstrikes TV Address to America on October 7, 2001
Speech at Pentagon Memorial Service on October 11, 2001
Speech to the United Nations on November 10, 2001
11, 2001 Terrorist
Attacks on America
Complete News Archives of September 11, 2001 and the Years That
Headlines, Newspapers, Timelines,
Mysteries, and History
the many souls who lost their lives,
the World Trade Center,
the Pentagon, and on airline flights 11, 175, 77, & 93.
The courage and sacrifice shown by the FDNY firefighters, the NYC
other NYC EMS will never be forgotten. History will remember