Days after terrorists hijacked airplanes and flew them into the Twin Towers in New York City on September 11, 2001, President George W. Bush visited rescue workers who were digging out survivors from the rubble.
Dressed in a tan zip-up jacket, Bush reportedly made no plans to deliver a speech from Ground Zero, but when he saw the emergency responders, he changed his mind. While embracing a firefighter on the scene, the president grabbed a bullhorn — the only thing available to amplify his voice — and what he said has become a cherished memory in the American psyche.
“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,” he began.
When rescue workers on site shouted they couldn’t hear him, Bush responded: “I can hear you! 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!”
Rescue workers chanted: “USA! USA! USA!”
“The nation sends its love and compassion to everybody who is here,” Bush concluded. “Thank you for your hard work. Thank you for making the nation proud, and may God bless America.”