George W. Bush: 9/11 Address to the Nation (2001)

George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States from 2001 to 2009. He is a member of the Republican party. A series of terrorist attacks occurred eight months into Bush's first term as president on September 11, 2001. On that morning, 19 al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four commercial passenger jet airliners. The hijackers crashed two of the airliners into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, killing everyone on board and many others working in the buildings. The hijackers crashed a third airliner into The Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. The fourth plane crashed into a field in rural Pennsylvania. Nearly 3000 victims lost their lives in the attacks. On the night of September 11, George W. Bush addressed the nation in a speech that has become very well-known.
Watch the video and listen to the speech. If you like, you can read along with the text. Otherwise, you can also jump to the post-listening exercise directly after watching the video.
Good evening. Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts. The victims were in airplanes, or in their offices; secretaries, businessmen and women, military and federal workers; moms and dads, friends and neighbors. Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror. The pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, fires burning, huge structures collapsing, have filled us with disbelief, terrible sadness, and a quiet, unyielding anger. These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed; our country is strong.
A great people has been moved to defend a great nation. Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shattered steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve. America was targeted for attack because we're the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining. Today, our nation saw evil, the very worst of human nature. And we responded with the best of America — with the daring of our rescue workers, with the caring for strangers and neighbors who came to give blood and help in any way they could.
Immediately following the first attack, I implemented our government's emergency response plans. Our military is powerful, and it's prepared. Our emergency teams are working in New York City and Washington, D.C. to help with local rescue efforts. Our first priority is to get help to those who have been injured, and to take every precaution to protect our citizens at home and around the world from further attacks. The functions of our government continue without interruption. Federal agencies in Washington which had to be evacuated today are reopening for essential personnel tonight, and will be open for business tomorrow. Our financial institutions remain strong, and the American economy will be open for business, as well.
The search is underway for those who are behind these evil acts. I've directed the full resources of our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and to bring them to justice. We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them. I appreciate so very much the members of Congress who have joined me in strongly condemning these attacks. And on behalf of the American people, I thank the many world leaders who have called to offer their condolences and assistance.
America and our friends and allies join with all those who want peace and security in the world, and we stand together to win the war against terrorism. Tonight, I ask for your prayers for all those who grieve, for the children whose worlds have been shattered, for all whose sense of safety and security has been threatened. And I pray they will be comforted by a power greater than any of us, spoken through the ages in Psalm 23: "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me." This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace. America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time. None of us will ever forget this day. Yet, we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world. Thank you. Good night, and God bless America.
Try to summarise the speech in a few sentences. To do so, consider the following questions:
  • What had happened that made George W. Bush address the nation?
  • What are, according to Bush, the reasons for the attacks?
  • What actions are taken?
  • What are the hopes and aims of Bush and the USA?
If you want to, you can take a look at the sample solution afterwards.
Bush addressed the nation because on the morning of 9/11, Al-Qaeda terrorists had hijacked four planes, killing thousands of innocent people, including many policemen and firefighters who tried to help. According to Bush, the USA was attacked because it is a symbol of freedom and opportunity. After the attacks, the first concern was to help the injured. Thus, emergency plans were implemented to rescue people. Federal agencies and financial institutions continued their work as soon as possible in order to stabilise the country and its economy. Furthermore, the Intelligence Community started investigations to find the people responsible for the attacks. Hopes and aims of the USA are the promotion of peace, freedom, security and justice in the world.

In response to the 9/11 attacks, Bush announced a global War on Terror, ordered an invasion of Afghanistan that same year and an invasion of Iraq in 2003. His aim was to find Osama bin Laden who had been the head of Al-Qaeda and responsible for the attacks. However, bin Laden was only found and then killed in May 2011 during Barack Obama's presidency. If you are interested in this topic, you may continue with Obama's speech on the death of bin Laden.

Learn more ...