Remembering 9/11: The George W. Bush Bullhorn Speech

by Cassy Fiano on September 9, 2017

In the days after 9/11, the nation was still grappling with what had happened. We were in shock. We were angry. We were mourning. We had watched the twin towers fall; we had seen the bodies of the jumpers, who plunged to their deaths. We heard the heroic story of Flight 93, and the Pentagon was still smoking. It seemed impossible for this nation to recover.

In times of extreme hardship, it’s vital to have a leader that can unite the country — and after 9/11, George W. Bush was that leader. It was September 14th, and first responders were still working day and night to find survivors and recover bodies. President Bush visited New York, and stood among the still-smoking rubble, touring the damage and meeting the heroes on the ground. This was truly unprecedented; it wasn’t often that presidents would visit the smoldering ruins of a terrorist attack and give such hands-on attention.

He had been in office for less than a year.

Originally, Bush hadn’t planned to give a speech at all. But as he shook the hands of first responders and saw the damage around him, he changed his mind. And he used the only thing available to him: a bullhorn. “Thank you all. I want you all to know — it [bullhorn] can’t go any louder,” he began. “I want you all to know that America today, 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.”

When the first responders shouted that they couldn’t hear him, Bush found the perfect words, words that live on today and forever. “I can hear you!” he shouted. “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.”

The first responders cheered and chanted, “USA! USA!”

“The nation — The nation sends its love and compassion to everybody who is here. Thank you for your hard work. Thank you for makin’ the nation proud, and may God bless America,” he concluded.


It was an electrifying moment, one that gave the country exactly what it needed. It helped Americans regain their strength and fortitude, brought us together, and reminded us that all was not lost. We would not be defeated by terrorists; we would rise up again, stronger and more united.

In times of crisis, a great leader can transcend politics to inspire and unite all Americans. George W. Bush did that with his bullhorn speech after 9/11. God bless George W. Bush, and God bless America.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

parker September 9, 2017 at 8:09 am

GWB brought tears to my eyes 9/14/11. Hearing him again today brought tears to my eyes.

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Jodi September 9, 2017 at 11:16 pm

Ditto, Parker.

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Miss Trixie B September 9, 2017 at 1:54 pm

Me too.

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