The date for the re-start of mine and Jeff’s project, September 11th, came about quite by accident … to start with, that is. We counted back eight weeks from election day, picked the first Friday in those 8 weeks, and … were stunned to see that with this logic, our first post would be on the 19th anniversary of 9/11. Nineteen years … wow. In some ways, it seems like only yesterday, doesn’t it? The building I was working in, a publishing company here in Cincinnati, has since been demolished, but I remember the exact place I was standing when one of my staff called me over to tell me that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. The rest of that day is a blur, but that single moment in time remains frozen in my mind.
For a number of reasons, 9/11 is very personal to me, as it is to many of you but that isn’t my focus with this post. This is the final leg of mine and Jeff’s project, started back in January of this year with the goal of helping our readers understand the importance of this election year, the issues, and why it is so crucial that each and every one of us do our part. It just happens, though, that this anniversary of the events of September 11, 2001, provides us with a good lead-in to jumpstart our project. The title for this second half of our project is “America’s Wake Up Call”, and by the time you finish reading this post, I think you will understand why.
On September 11th, 2001, terrorists flew planes into the two towers of the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and one that we believe was headed for the White House that was brought down by heroes in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. In under two hours, our lives were changed. At that time, President George W. Bush was at the helm. No matter what happened later, no matter what mistakes or poor decisions he made in the months and years that followed, I will always remember him for what he did in the hours and days that followed: he united us. He comforted, he understood, he grieved along with us. His was the voice of caring, of compassion, of intellect, of … calm and reason.
This is the text of his address to We the People on the evening of 9/11 …
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 — 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 underway for those who were behind these evil acts. I have 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.
Now, fast forward to 2020. Can you envision the current occupant of the Oval Office, whom I refuse to refer to by the title of “president”, giving such a speech or acting in such a rational manner as G.W. did on that day? Try to imagine, if we had a similar crisis in this nation today, how Donald Trump would react. He would screech, he would point fingers, his face would be twisted into a hundred contortions. He would blame … he would blame Democrats, he would blame Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer. He would blame any and every one of us in one way or another. Would we feel comforted as we did nineteen years ago? Hell no! We would be terrified!
George W. Bush united the people of this nation … he brought us together in our shared grief, and helped us to understand that we needed to reach out to each other, that we were all in this together and that together we would get through the days ahead, the loss of loved ones, the shattering of our lives. Donald Trump is not anywhere near the man that George W. Bush is and was on that day. Donald Trump would use the crisis as a means to drive the wedge that already exists between the people of this nation just a little bit deeper, to cause us to fear one another instead of reaching out and offering comfort, just as he has done with the current pandemic.
I can offer at least one hundred reasons that Donald Trump must be defeated on November 3rd, that Joe Biden must be elected, but this may well be the best reason … we need a leader who leads, who cares about us, who has the intelligence and demeanor to remain calm in the midst of a storm and unite rather than divide. We do not have that leader today … let’s make sure that next January we do.