O God, is like you? Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter,
you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will
again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once
again." Psalm 71:19-21
thou not; for I am with thee; be not dismayed; for I am thy God; I will
strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea I will uphold thee with the
right hand of my righteousness." Isaiah 41:10
eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their
cry. The righteous cry and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all
their troubles." Psalm 34:15, 17
George W. Bush’s Remarks on the
Day of National Prayer and Remembrance
September 14, 2001
THE PRESIDENT: We are here in the middle hour of our grief. So
many have suffered so great a loss, and today we express our nation's
sorrow. We come before God to pray for the missing and the dead, and for
those who love them.
On Tuesday, our country was attacked with deliberate and massive cruelty. We
have seen the images of fire and ashes, and bent steel.
Now come the names, the list of casualties we are only beginning to read. They
are the names of men and women who began their day at a desk or in an
airport, busy with life. They are the names of people who faced
death, and in their last moments called home to say, be brave, and I love
They are the names of passengers who defied their murderers, and prevented
the murder of others on the ground. They are the names of men and
women who wore the uniform of the United States, and died at their posts.
They are the names of rescuers, the ones whom death found running up the
stairs and into the fires to help others. We will read all these
names. We will linger over them, and learn their stories, and
many Americans will weep.
To the children and parents and spouses and families and friends of the
lost, we offer the deepest sympathy of the nation. And I assure
you, you are not alone.
Just three days removed from these events, Americans do not yet have the
distance of history. But our responsibility to history is already
clear: to answer these attacks and rid the world of evil.
War has been waged against us by stealth and deceit and murder. This
nation is peaceful, but fierce when stirred to anger. This
conflict was begun on the timing and terms of others. It will end
in a way, and at an hour, of our choosing.
Our purpose as a nation is firm. Yet our wounds as a people are
recent and unhealed, and lead us to pray. In many of our prayers
this week, there is a searching, and an honesty. At St. Patrick's
Cathedral in New York on Tuesday, a woman said, "I prayed to God to
give us a sign that He is still here." Others have prayed
for the same, searching hospital to hospital, carrying pictures of those
God's signs are not always the ones we look for. We learn in
tragedy that his purposes are not always our own. Yet the prayers
of private suffering, whether in our homes or in this great cathedral, are
known and heard, and understood.
There are prayers that help us last through the day, or endure the night. There
are prayers of friends and strangers, that give us strength for the journey. And
there are prayers that yield our will to a will greater than our own.
This world He created is of moral design. Grief and tragedy and
hatred are only for a time. Goodness, remembrance, and love have
no end. And the Lord of life holds all who die, and all who mourn.
It is said that adversity introduces us to ourselves. This is
true of a nation as well. In this trial, we have been reminded,
and the world has seen, that our fellow Americans are generous and kind,
resourceful and brave. We see our national character in rescuers
working past exhaustion; in long lines of blood donors; in thousands of
citizens who have asked to work and serve in any way possible.
And we have seen our national character in eloquent acts of sacrifice.
Inside the World Trade Center, one man who could have saved himself stayed
until the end at the side of his quadriplegic friend. A beloved
priest died giving the last rites to a firefighter. Two office
workers, finding a disabled stranger, carried her down sixty-eight floors to
safety. A group of men drove through the night from Dallas to
Washington to bring skin grafts for burn victims.
In these acts, and in many others, Americans showed a deep commitment to one
another, and an abiding love for our country. Today, we feel what
Franklin Roosevelt called the warm courage of national unity. This
is a unity of every faith, and every background.
It has joined together political parties in both houses of Congress. It is
evident in services of prayer and candlelight vigils, and American flags,
which are displayed in pride, and wave in defiance.
Our unity is a kinship of grief, and a steadfast resolve to prevail against
our enemies. And this unity against terror is now extending
across the world.
America is a nation full of good fortune, with so much to be grateful for. But
we are not spared from suffering. In every generation, the world
has produced enemies of human freedom. They have attacked
America, because we are freedom's home and defender. And the
commitment of our fathers is now the calling of our time.
On this national day of prayer and remembrance, we ask almighty God to watch
over our nation, and grant us patience and resolve in all that is to come. We
pray that He will comfort and console those who now walk in sorrow. We
thank Him for each life we now must mourn, and the promise of a life to
As we have been assured, neither death nor life, nor angels nor
principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height
nor depth, can separate us from God's love. May He bless the
souls of the departed. May He comfort our own. And may
He always guide our country.