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Where We Stand:
Byliner by President George W. Bush


Where We Stand:
Byliner by President George W. Bush

We all remember where we were and how we felt when we learned of the terrorist attacks last September 11. We remember the blue sky of that Tuesday morning and, moments later, the black smoke that streaked against it. We remember the terrible scenes of planes crashing into buildings and the dread we felt as we learned the names of mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, children and their teachers -- innocent victims from more than 80 countries.

In an instant, America was transformed from a nation at peace to a country at war. We were called to defend liberty against tyranny and terror. And we have answered that call with the might of our military and the spirit of a nation inspired by acts of heroism.

In the past 12 months, we have seen the true character of our country. We learned of firefighters who wrote their Social Security numbers on their arms with felt-tip pens to mark their bodies before rushing into burning buildings. We learned of the courage of the passengers aboard Flight 93 -- American civilians who led the first counterattack in the war on terror. We watched recovery workers fulfill their grim duty while New Yorkers lined the streets to show their support and gratitude.

Today, the grief of families continues. Yet we have rebuilt much of what the terrorists set out to destroy. The Pentagon stands strong and whole. We are rebuilding New York City. The U.S. military and its allies around the world have disrupted the terrorist networks, destroyed their training camps and undermined their ability to strike again. American troops have removed the Taliban regime from power, liberating Afghan women and children from lives of fear and oppression. This will be a long war, and unprecedented challenges await us. But we have made tremendous progress.

Our government bears essential responsibilities in this struggle: to wage an effective and relentless war against terrorists, protect the homeland and strengthen America's economy. We have acted on those fronts, and we will continue to do more.

The American people have responsibilities as well. Countless people around the country have asked me, "What can I do to help in the war on terror?" The answer: Overcome evil with acts of goodness. Love a neighbor. Reach out to somebody in need. Feed someone who is hungry, teach a child to read, or join in community efforts to prepare for emergencies by helping local firefighters and police.

I have asked all Americans to commit at least two years over a lifetime to the service of our neighbors and our nation. We created USA Freedom Corps to help every American answer this call to service by strengthening and expanding service opportunities to protect our homeland, support our communities and extend American compassion around the world.

One year after the terrorist attacks, we are moving forward. We will never forget the victims who died Sept. 11 or the heroes who left an indelible mark on our nation. An entire generation of young people will grow up with vivid images of the faces of bravery -- firefighters, police officers, men and women in the U.S. military, nurses and doctors, members of the clergy, and ordinary people who put the interests of the country and fellow Americans above everything else.

We are proud of our achievements and hopeful for the future. We will win the war on terrorism and leave the world better than we found it.

May God bless America.