Five years ago today, my wife and I were running late to work. At the time, we were working together, and we were supposed to report to the office at 8:30 in the morning. We were three blocks from work and listening to the radio aound 8:50am, when the radio announcer broke in to announce that a plane had hit the WTC. While reporting this tragedy, the next plane hit the second tower, and my wife and I both looked at each other and we both immediately knew that we were under attack. Everything seemed to stand still and I immediately felt my eyes well and my heart feel heavy.
That was five years ago today. Today, our lives are different. My wife and I both work at different places. We live in a different place. Our family has grown. Some things haven't changed though. I am again supposed to report to work at 8:30 in the morning. At 8:46 am this morning, I was three blocks away from the office...again. Five years later, I sat through the same moment that I sat through five years ago. This minute however was marked by a moment of silence on the air, and it was followed by an audio montage from that day. The difference today was that the world around didn't stand still. Everyone was busily on their way to work.
The one thing that touched me the most from the audio montage was the words of President Bush. Despite any feelings or political tendicies that anyone may have, I don't think any one else could have filled his burdened role better that day or delivered the words that we all needed to hear from him on that day. For me, this will always be my memory of George W. Bush's presidency. I have included the full text of his speech below, because I think it is important to remember.
PRESIDENT BUSH: 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, business men 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 shatter 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 under way for those who are behind these evil acts. I've directed the full resources for our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and 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.