These remarks speak of the America that FDR helped shape and, in Bush’s words, “the America I know”. They speak of courage, patience and above all determination to live up to our founding precepts, even if the speakers themselves – and we – have not always done so.
These words also recall the fragility, flaws and failures of leadership, because no president is without flaws, or worse, in his historical reputation. These presidents are not exempt; Roosevelt sent Japanese Americans to internment camps and desperate Jews aboard ships in European concentration camps, and Bush invaded Iraq under false pretenses and authorized the use of ” improved interrogation techniques ”which were nothing less than torture.
Then again, on another 9/11, some 160 years ago in 1861, President Abraham Lincoln, in what he saw as a strategic imperative but also a moral calamity, ignored the plea of abolitionist Frederick Douglass ( “To fight against the slave owners, without fighting slavery, is only a half-hearted affair …”) and revoked the proclamation of Fremont, in which the Western commander of the Union forces freed the slaves of Missouri.
Now has come a time when you and I must see the cold and inexorable need to tell these inhuman and frantic seekers of world conquest and permanent world domination by the sword: “You seek to cast our children and them. children of our children in your form of terrorism and slavery. You have now attacked our own security. You won’t go any further.