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The 9/11 Bullhorn Speech by President George W. Bush

A president who had barely taken office became a war president overnight, and he rose to the occasion. It can never be said enough … we cannot forget the terrorism attacks of 9/11 and the 3,000 souls who perished that day.

On this day seventeen years ago, September 14, spontaneous chants roared from the crowd of rescue workers three days after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, as President George W. Bush stood at a still-smoldering Ground Zero and, with bullhorn in hand, spoke the words that were heard around the world [1].

It was not a prepared speech. He had not planned to speak. He was there to thank rescue workers but the crowd wanted to hear from the President. In that unscripted moment, George W. Bush said exactly what the country needed to hear, soothing the ragged and raw emotions of a nation still shell-shocked from the worst attack ever on U.S. soil.

Clamoring up on a burned out fire truck, a casualty of the attack, and taking a bullhorn that someone handed him, he spoke. In those few words, he rallied a nation.

President Bush: “Thank you all. I want you all to know — it can’t go any louder (referring to the bullhorn) — I want you all to know that America today is on bended knee, in prayer for the people whose lives were lost here, for the workers who work here, for the families who mourn. The nation stands with the good people of New York City and New Jersey and Connecticut as we mourn the loss of thousands of our citizens.”

Rescue Worker: I can’t hear you!

President Bush: I can hear you! I can hear you! The rest of the world hears you! And the people — and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.

Rescue Workers: (Roar from the crowd) USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA!

President Bush: The nation sends its love and compassion …

Rescue Worker: God bless America!

President Bush: … to everybody who is here. Thank you for your hard work. Thank you for making the nation proud, and may God bless America.

Rescue Workers: (Chanting) USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA!

It was a moment that uplifted the nation and brought American solidarity.

Interview with Bob Beckwith, the New York retired fire fighter who stood with President Bush [2]