THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release September 11, 2001
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
IN HIS ADDRESS TO THE NATION
The Oval Office
8:30 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: 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
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
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.
END 8:35 P.M. EDT