Former President George W. Bush spoke at the 9/11 memorial to Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania this morning. Bush was president on that terrible day, of course, and his remarks are welcome to those families in a way that the following commentary but Kamala Harris could not hope to be.
Where Bush spoke of the sterling character of America in the days after 9/11, Harris decried the persecution of minorities that supposedly took place. He praised the courage of the passengers who fought back, and talked about how the terrorists were shocked by it, but that none of us should be.
It is a good speech, and it’s worth watching.
“The terrorists soon discovered that a random group of Americans is an exceptional group of people. Facing an impossible circumstance, they comforted their loved ones by phone, braced each other for action, and defeated the designs of evil. These Americans were brave, strong and united in ways that shocked the terrorists, but should not surprise any of us.”
Bush praised the troops who have fought these last 20 years in wars and actions he and his administration set in motion, and that Harris and Biden brought to an ignominious end.
In the comments below will be sour notes, those who will proclaim their everlasting disdain for all the Bush family, name him betrayer of Trump or starter of endless war, etc. And guess what? He is those things. Many of the problems we face now with the scope of federal power trace back to his days in the White House. War that lasted for decades, and more. They are right to say it. He did that. It can’t be ingored. It’s truth.
But he was president on 9/11, and his leadership there in the wreckage will always be meaningful and well-remembered by those who trouble themselves to remember what many Americans these days strive to forget. That we are all complicated people. Leaders especially have their dark and their light. That we live in a fallen and dangerous world. The past is ugly as often as it is beautiful. Hard to think about as often as it is treasured. That’s truth, too.
If you truly recall the days that followed the attacks on 9/11, then you know that this speech by this man is as important today as Trump’s remarks were. As important as Kamala’s were not.
Good words. Words worth hearing, about a complicated past in this complicated present.