Videos: Two Presidents speak at Ground Zero ceremony

posted at 3:30 pm on September 11, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

In today’s observance of the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks at Ground Zero in Manhattan, current President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush spoke briefly to the audience assembled. Bush took the stage after a moment of silence to read Abraham Lincoln’s 1864 letter to Lydia Bixby, after Lincoln was informed at the time that Bixby lost five sons in the Civil War (a report that was later determined to be incorrect, as three apparently survived). It is considered to be among Lincoln’s finest works, and regardless of the backstory to the letter, it is remarkably applicable in cases of national mourning. Bush only spoke to read the letter aloud, and was briefly greeted by a few cheers after he began (via Larry O’Connor):


Likewise, President Obama took the stage only to read Psalm 46, a particularly apt passage:

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The symbolism of having both Presidents at the same service is powerful indeed, and sends a clear message about the strength of America. It also shows that regardless of the plots of terrorists, we will not shrink from our defense of liberty and our mission to spread liberty throughout the world. This was a fitting way to commemorate the lost, and to demonstrate our ability to rebuild and recommit ourselves to that mission.


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Texas Gal on September 11, 2011 at 7:10 PM

No you don’t know American History, for the most part the founders were strict isolationists almost on par with Ron Paul, a tradition the U.S. basically followed up till WWI. As for this idea of spreading liberty in the Islamic world that starts with the Bush doctrine and as policy it’s one devoid of any understanding of who we’re supposedly helping. Islamic countries don’t want the liberty we think we’re spreading, they prefer Sharia. Till we start to grasp that we can stop spinning our wheels with this spreading liberty nonsense.

lowandslow on September 11, 2011 at 8:14 PM

Bush was very presidential and I never once doubted his love for country and the depth of his emotion. Didn’t bother watching the SCoaMF, I know exactly who he is.

Smaulz on September 11, 2011 at 8:14 PM

Not one more American dime, nor one more drop of American blood, should go to defending Muslims anywhere in the world from other Muslims. All military spending should go to defending Western civilization, not its declared enemies.

Lon Chaney on September 11, 2011 at 8:15 PM

lowandslow,

I would be a lot more likely to agree with you if those that want Sharia seem hell-bent on spreading it.

The Opinionator on September 11, 2011 at 8:20 PM

lowandslow on September 11, 2011 at 8:14 PM

Lon Chaney on September 11, 2011 at 8:15 PM

I certainly agree, but I think the ultimate real reason we squander our blood and treasure in the Middle East is to make the world safer for Israel. For neocons, no price paid in that endeavor is too high. There’s very little altruism about it, which is fine by me so long as the goal is worthy–say securing plentiful, cheap oil. But it’s not. The Jewish lobbies give in the millions and we spend in their behalf in the hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars and lives in the thousands. Why? Lots of not very good reasons. You’ll hear most of them on HA, eventually. But never anything approaching an uncritical search for the truth.

exlibris on September 11, 2011 at 8:26 PM

PrincipleStand on September 11, 2011 at 6:19 PM

Thanks for that. You said it all!

Bambi on September 11, 2011 at 8:30 PM

I would be a lot more likely to agree with you if those that want Sharia seem hell-bent on spreading it.

The Opinionator on September 11, 2011 at 8:20 PM

If our policy was to stop the spread of Islam and Sharia then say so but it isn’t. If that was the reason we are still in Afghanistan and Iraq I probably wouldn’t mind but it isn’t. If that was the goal in Egypt and Libya I probably wouldn’t mind but it isn’t. Instead after ten years there are a lot of people think we can spread a western style of democracy/liberty in the Islamic world, we can’t.

lowandslow on September 11, 2011 at 8:38 PM

No you don’t know American History, for the most part the founders were strict isolationists almost on par with Ron Paul, a tradition the U.S. basically followed up till WWI.

lowandslow on September 11, 2011 at 8:14 PM

And beyond. Anyone remember the America Firsters? They disbanded December 11, 1941, after Pearl Harbor.

Their claim? “Our principles were right. Had they been followed, war could have been avoided. No good purpose can now be served by considering what might have been, had our objectives been attained…”

In order for all of that to have occurred, the America Firsters would have had to convince our lawmakers to oppose acts against the Axis, such as the embargo the United States had placed on the export of scrap iron to Japan due to Japanese aggression in the Far East. But, if the America Firsters were truly right, we should not have been selling scrap iron to the Japanese in the first place.

In order for Ron Paul to be right, we would have had to not engage in any merchantile enterprises such as acquiring oil, a vital raw material for our industries. But not acquiring oil meant that old ladies would freeze to death in Detroit in the winter…

It’s amusing where isolationism takes you if you are true to its tenets.

unclesmrgol on September 11, 2011 at 8:49 PM

“The symbolism of having both Presidents at the same service is powerful indeed, and sends a clear message about the strength of America. It also shows that regardless of the plots of terrorists, we will not shrink from our defense of liberty and our mission to spread liberty throughout the world.”

Aw BS. All the dual appearance shows is a man of character who does what he says he’s going to do and a charlatan bent on undermining the country – one fulfilling the duty of his conscience, the other fulfilling the obligatory slot of his office.

Obama’s presence sends no positive message.

This 10th anniversary of 9/11/01 has me refocused like a laser beam on the true enemies of liberty. And while radical Islam certainly qualifies, our real existential war must be against the enablers of radical Islam within our own midst – Leftists.

IronDioPriest on September 11, 2011 at 8:54 PM

lowandslow,

We are still in Iraq and Afghanistan because the job is not done. But there are clear benefits of spreading liberty in the region while we are there such as dealing with the problems of sharia and radicalization of Islam at the source. Truly free people with prospects do not tend to fly buildings into buildings filled with people. Paulnuts live with the belief that if only we did not engage ourselves in the world, we would have no problems. Nice if you are self-sufficient and not a large target. We are not and we are…

The Opinionator on September 11, 2011 at 9:03 PM

exlibris,

It is all about the evil Jooos, eh?

The Opinionator on September 11, 2011 at 9:07 PM

Obama’s presence sends no positive message.
IronDioPriest on September 11, 2011 at 8:54 PM

A picture worth a thousand words, from earlier today…

http://yfrog.com/j2203gxj

OnlyOrange on September 11, 2011 at 9:25 PM

whatcat on September 11, 2011 at 7:32 PM

Start here..
Jefferson on Empire of Liberty

lowandslow on September 11, 2011 at 8:14 PM

Our mission in both Afghanistan and Iraq are about our national security, liberty is a strategy.

Texas Gal on September 11, 2011 at 9:25 PM

Our mission in both Afghanistan and Iraq are about our national security, liberty is a strategy.

Texas Gal on September 11, 2011 at 9:25 PM

Their constitutions enshrine Islamic law, not liberty. It is the Mother of all Bridges to Nowhere.

Lon Chaney on September 11, 2011 at 9:31 PM

The symbolism of having both Presidents at the same service is powerful indeed, and sends a clear message about the strength of America

I only saw one president in those videos.

Fighton03 on September 11, 2011 at 9:42 PM

Lon Chaney on September 11, 2011 at 9:31 PM

Liberty is a messy process. I have no doubt they are going to have to find their own way. We had to find ours too. Still are. They’ll probably have their own civil war eventurally. But Afghanistan is about Pakistan and considering our history there, I understand that allowing it to repeat is not an option.

Texas Gal on September 11, 2011 at 9:46 PM

You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. You cannot make a decent country with an honest government out of a superstitious uneducated barbarian citizenry who choose religious sharia law as the law of the land, refusing to separate mosque and state. When Afghanis went with the same sharia that has already created 57 out of 57 human rights denying dumps, NATO troops should have been pulled out with the following words from Bush who was POTUS at the time: “In our experience and observing world history, what gives the highest quality of life to citizens is separation of church/mosque and state. Since you have chosen to follow the failed pattern of 57 other Muslim states, we in the West cannot help you. Goodbye and good luck. Be careful to avoid hosting more attacks on the United States. If we are forced to come back, you won’t like the results.”

Lon Chaney on September 11, 2011 at 10:01 PM

We are still in Iraq and Afghanistan because the job is not done. But there are clear benefits of spreading liberty in the region while we are there such as dealing with the problems of sharia and radicalization of Islam at the source.
The Opinionator on September 11, 2011 at 9:03 PM

What benefits? Removing dictators while brutal not really animus to the west and replacing them with strict Islamists the people wish for?

lowandslow on September 11, 2011 at 10:16 PM

The theory is that newer generations will want democracy if they see it working in other islamic countries. Iran isn’t quite ready for democracy yet, but the divide is very generational. I think other countries will follow.

Say what you want about the prospects for success of the theory, but don’t try claiming that the wars are for Israel.

blink on September 11, 2011 at 9:26 PM

Where is it working? Wishing for it to work and actually seeing it working are two different things. Tens years into this experiment and nothing has changed except for the fact that the Islamic world has further embraced fundamentalist Islam. They won’t embrace a western version of liberty because their religion forbids it. And they never will.
And what does Israel have to do with this? I never even mentioned it.

lowandslow on September 11, 2011 at 10:22 PM

whatcat on September 11, 2011 at 7:32 PM

Start here..
Jefferson on Empire of Liberty

Texas Gal on September 11, 2011 at 9:25 PM

That’s interesting, but it seems it was primarily a ploy against “a barrier against the dangerous extension of the British Province of Canada”. You have to keep in mind in his era Britain was “the evil empire” to be stopped.

Also, going by that Wikipedia article, the notion looks to have formulated from interpretation of a few of his private letters – as opposed to things such as State Of The Union messages, speeches or items of a nature announcing a policy. And we have seen what people have extrapolated from his Letter to the Danbury Baptists and the “wall of separation between Church & State”.

Although Wikipedia is often iffy on presenting issues such as these, it also details United States non-interventionism. It includes a quote from Jefferson’s 1801 inaugural address: “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none” by way of illustration.

whatcat on September 11, 2011 at 10:50 PM

It includes a quote from Jefferson’s 1801 inaugural address: “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none” by way of illustration.

whatcat on September 11, 2011 at 10:50 PM

Few great ideas weather a stiff dose of reality.

Honesty in the international sense is “mingling blood”.

When we went to war against Al Qaeda, had other countries shied away from an “entangling alliance” with us, we would stand alone.

unclesmrgol on September 11, 2011 at 11:05 PM

GW a real President….we need another real President real soon….

dec5 on September 11, 2011 at 11:14 PM

It includes a quote from Jefferson’s 1801 inaugural address: “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none” by way of illustration.

whatcat on September 11, 2011 at 10:50 PM

Few great ideas weather a stiff dose of reality.

Honesty in the international sense is “mingling blood”.

When we went to war against Al Qaeda, had other countries shied away from an “entangling alliance” with us, we would stand alone.

unclesmrgol on September 11, 2011 at 11:05 PM

Sometimes it comes back to bite ya on the backside, too. Supporting the Mujihadeen in Afghanistan brought us the Taliban and they provided a home sweet home for Bin Laden.

whatcat on September 11, 2011 at 11:25 PM

lowandslow on September 11, 2011 at 8:14 PM

Isolationists like Ron Paul up to WW1? Did you skip over Manifest Destiny?

Daemonocracy on September 11, 2011 at 11:57 PM

lowandslow on September 11, 2011 at 8:38 PM

We were never in Egypt.

We had a bit of revenge on Mr. Kadaffi. Don’t mess with the USA.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, we broke things there (and I say this as a SUPPORTER of the wars), and therefore we must do something to fix them. That’s part of who we are. If it doesn’t work in those countries like it worked in Japan, Germany, and Italy, that’s the fault of the people living there. Real Americans understand what I’m saying.

Say what you want about the prospects for success of the theory, but don’t try claiming that the wars are for Israel.

blink on September 11, 2011 at 9:26 PM

I’m far from a complete lover of Israel (I happen to think the problems started when they screwed the Palestinians, not the other way around), but I have a big problem when people claim that our policies all revolve around saving Israel. We have an alliance with Israel, just as we do with several other middle-Eastern countries. That alliance lets us (to some people’s complete frustration) try to influence Israel’s behavior toward the Palestinians. America has an outsized influence on Israel because we are friends and allies. If we weren’t, our relationship with Israel would probably be similar to the one we have with Iran — where we have zero influence. And, like all countries with whom we are allied, Israel has a vocal lobby in Washington.

If we were really acting as Israel’s proxy, we would not be winding down our involvement in Iraq, we would be ramping it up for an invasion of Iran — a nation which has stated its intent to wipe Israel from the face of the earth, and which is attempting to secure the necessary arms to do exactly that. In addition, Iraq would be a great staging ground for an attack upon Syria, a country which, like Iran, is providing supplies to those Palestinians who are killing Israeli noncombatants. Given what we are seeing (our withdrawal), it certainly beggars the imagination that the United States would have done Iraq and Afghanistan to aid the Israelis — those countries were no threat to Israel at the time we invaded them as several others like Iran and Syria were.

Unlike the Ron Paul people, I prefer positive engagement with Israel, and I believe that Al Qaeda and any friend of theirs has a target painted on them, and it is NOT our fault for shooting at the target — it’s their fault.

unclesmrgol on September 12, 2011 at 12:31 AM

Aw BS. All the dual appearance shows is a man of character who does what he says he’s going to do and a charlatan bent on undermining the country – one fulfilling the duty of his conscience, the other fulfilling the obligatory slot of his office.
IronDioPriest on September 11, 2011 at 8:54 PM

so it would seem

A picture worth a thousand words, from earlier today…
http://yfrog.com/j2203gxj
OnlyOrange on September 11, 2011 at 9:25 PM

Thank you OnlyOrange. It touched my heart to see Bush’s face. It is the same face he gave to the world ten years ago.

I only saw one president in those videos.
Fighton03 on September 11, 2011 at 9:42 PM

One suffered a great loss, and one suffered through a ceremony

That is why I wouldn’t watch the memorial. However, I am grateful for the link from OnlyOrange.

It reminds me it takes but one heart to love, but one tear to grieve, but one prayer to reach Heaven’s gate, but one God to hear

This is why the birds sing in the morning, to the glory of God who waits for us to call His name

What a day. It never fades

entagor on September 12, 2011 at 12:54 AM

“*PrincipleStand on September 11, 2011 at 6:19 PM

Thank you, thank you, for your post, powerful true words, I’ve copied them and am sending them to all my liberal/Democrat buddies.
Thank you.

philly_PA on September 12, 2011 at 8:34 AM

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