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September 10, 2006

Five Years Later: Fortitude/Freedom

To ensure our freedom, we would need to strengthen our fortitude. President George W. Bush was well aware of this, and began a period that will no doubt be cemented in his legacy.

Before, President Bush had been seen as bumbling and stumbling. Comedians across the country derided Bush as dumb; Will Ferrell had a knack for sounding like him even as he exaggerated his features. But the following Satuday Night Live would show a change. While Ferrell could not step out of character, he portrayed Bush in a more heroic way, standing up to Osama bin Laden. This would be mirrored in real life.

President Bush stepped up immediately. He went to the remains of the fallen towers, and gave support to those helping with the relief effort. He spent a lot of time talking with his advisors. And then came September 20th.

On that day, the president would give his greatest speech before a joint session of Congress and aired live for all of America to see.And tonight, the United States of America makes the following demands on the Taliban: Deliver to United States authorities all the leaders of al Qaeda who hide in your land. Release all foreign nationals, including American citizens, you have unjustly imprisoned. Protect foreign journalists, diplomats and aid workers in your country. Close immediately and permanently every terrorist training camp in Afghanistan, and hand over every terrorist, and every person in their support structure, to appropriate authorities. Give the United States full access to terrorist training camps, so we can make sure they are no longer operating.


These terrorists kill not merely to end lives, but to disrupt and end a way of life. With every atrocity, they hope that America grows fearful, retreating from the world and forsaking our friends. They stand against us, because we stand in their way.


This is not, however, just America's fight. And what is at stake is not just America's freedom. This is the world's fight. This is civilization's fight. This is the fight of all who believe in progress and pluralism, tolerance and freedom.


Great harm has been done to us. We have suffered great loss. And in our grief and anger we have found our mission and our moment. Freedom and fear are at war. The advance of human freedom -- the great achievement of our time, and the great hope of every time -- now depends on us. Our nation -- this generation -- will lift a dark threat of violence from our people and our future. We will rally the world to this cause by our efforts, by our courage. We will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail.


I will not forget this wound to our country or those who inflicted it. I will not yield; I will not rest; I will not relent in waging this struggle for freedom and security for the American people.Powerful stuff. The president's approval rating would hit record highs, not because of partisan leanings but because he stepped up as a leader for all the American people.

This would lead to the Global War on Terror. The military stepped up, and has done an amazing job. The Taliban and al Qaeda no longer hold power in Afghanistan. Pakistan and Libya took notice, and both have worked hard to re-engage the United States in civil discourse. And while Osama bin Laden is still sadly uncaught, many of his deputies have been caught or killed. Terror has not been eliminated, but a clear message of freedom has been sent.

The War on Terror continues. Many recognize the threats before us, and continue to do everything they can to protect that freedom, and some try to reward those who do. Candlelight vigils are a common sight each year on September 11th. Two recent films have come out, showing our culture's views of the events and the impact that day had on our lives. Truly, September 11th did show us both the worst and the best of mankind.