Skip to comments.Transcript Of Remarks By President Bush On USS Enterprise
Posted on 12/07/2001 1:18:17 PM PST by Hipixs
Bush Remarks on USS Enterprise
7 Dec 16:14
Transcript Of Remarks By President Bush On USS Enterprise
To: National Desk
Contact: White House Press Office, 202-456-2580
WASHINGTON, Dec. 7 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The following is a
transcript of remarks by President Bush on the USS Enterprise on
Pearl Harbor Day:
Naval Station Norfolk
2:57 p.m. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you all very much. I'm grateful
for this warm welcome on the deck of the "Big E." (Applause.)
America is proud of this fine carrier and we're really proud of
her crew. You're serving at a crucial moment for the cause of
peace and freedom, and your country thanks you.
This is a fitting place to mark one of the most fateful days
in American history. On December the 7th, 1941, the enemy
attacked. Today is an anniversary of a tragedy for the United
States Navy. Yet, out of that tragedy, America built the
strongest Navy in the world. And there is no better symbol of
that strength than the USS Enterprise.
What happened at Pearl Harbor was the start of a long and
terrible war for America. Yet, out of that surprise attack grew
a steadfast resolve that made America freedom's defender. And
that mission -- our great calling -- continues to this hour, as
the brave men and women of our military fight the forces of
terror in Afghanistan and around the world.
We are joined this afternoon by some distinguished guests:
the Governor of this great Commonwealth is with us, Jim Gilmore.
(Applause.) Members of the congressional delegation from
Virginia are here with us, and I want to thank them for coming
as well. (Applause.) I want to thank my friend, Tony Principi,
the Secretary of Veterans Affairs who is here, a Naval Academy
grad who served our country with bravery and distinction during
the Vietnam era.
I want to thank Gordon England, Secretary of the Navy, who
is doing such a fine job representing the Navy in the Pentagon.
(Applause.) I want to thank Admiral Natter, the
Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet. I always like a
good Southern accent up here on the East Coast. (Laughter and
applause.) I thank Sandy Winnefeld, the Commanding Office of the
USS Enterprise. And I want to thank the crew of this fine ship
and all your families who are here as well. (Applause.) And I
thank General Kernan for being here as well.
We are especially honored to share this anniversary with 25
living witnesses to Pearl Harbor on December the 7th, 1941.
Thank you all for being here. They saw the attack and knew its
victims by name. They can recall the last moments of peace, the
first moments of war -- and the faces of lost friends, forever
young in memory. These veterans represent the noble history and
traditions of the United States military. And I ask the Navy of
today to please join me in honoring these fine men from the
military of yesterday. (Applause.)
The attack on Pearl Harbor was plotted in secret, waged
without mercy, taking the lives of 2,403 Americans. The shock
and chaos came on a quiet Sunday morning. There were acts of
great heroism amongst those who survived, and those who did not.
Nine who fell that day had Navy ships named after them. In two
hours' time, for bravery above and beyond the call of duty, 15
men earned the Medal of Honor. And 10 of them did not live to
Young sailors refused to abandon ship, even as the waters
washed over the decks. They chose instead to stay and try to
save their friends. A mess steward carried his commander to
safety, and then manned a machine gun for the first time in his
life. Two pilots ran through heavy fire to get into their P-40
fighters. They proceeded to chase and shoot down four enemy
Those were among the scenes of December the 7th. On December
the 8th, as the details became known, the nation's grief turned
to resolution. During four years of war, no one doubted the
rightness of our cause, no one wavered in the quest of victory.
As a result of the efforts and sacrifice of the veterans who are
with us today, and of millions like them, the world was saved
Many of you in today's Navy are the children and
grandchildren of the generation that fought and won the Second
World War. Now your calling has come. Each one of you is
commissioned by history to face freedom's enemies.
When the Enterprise sailed out of Norfolk last April, we
were a nation at peace. All of that changed on the morning of
September the 11th. You were among the first to fight in the
first war of the 21st century. You were ready. You performed
with skill and honor. And you have made your nation proud.
On board this ship when you returned to port four weeks ago
was a young man named Ruben Rodriguez. Two days later, Petty
Officer Rodriguez lost his life in a plane crash. His wife and
his family are in our thoughts and prayers. One of the last
things this sailor did was to visit Ground Zero in New York
City. He saw what the terrorists did to America, and he said to
a friend, that's why I fought.
And that's why we are all fighting. We are fighting to
protect ourselves and our children from violence and fear. We're
fighting for the security of our people and the success of
liberty. We're fighting against men without conscience, but full
of ambition -- to remake the world in their own brutal images.
For all the reasons we're fighting to win -- and win we will.
There is a great divide in our time -- not between religions
or cultures, but between civilization and barbarism. People of
all cultures wish to live in safety and dignity. The hope of
justice and mercy and better lives are common to all humanity.
Our enemies reject these values -- and by doing so, they set
themselves not against the West, but against the entire world.
Our war against terror is not a war against one terrorist
leader or one terrorist group. Terrorism is a movement, an
ideology that respects no boundary of nationality or decency.
The terrorists despise creative societies and individual choice
-- and thus they bear a special hatred for America. They desire
to concentrate power in the hands of a few, and to force every
life into grim and joyless conformity. They celebrate death,
making a mission of murder and a sacrament of suicide. Yet, for
some reason -- for some reason, only young followers are ushered
down this deadly path to paradise, while terrorist leaders run
into caves to save their own hides. (Applause.)
We've seen their kind before. The terrorists are the heirs
to fascism. They have the same will to power, the same disdain
for the individual, the same mad global ambitions. And they will
be dealt with in just the same way. (Applause.) Like all
fascists, the terrorists cannot be appeased: they must be
defeated. This struggle will not end in a truce or treaty. It
will end in victory for the United States, our friends and the
cause of freedom. (Applause.)
The Enterprise has been part of this campaign. And when we
need you again, I know you'll be ready. (Applause.) Our enemies
doubt this. They believe that free societies are weak societies.
But we're going to prove them wrong. Just as we were 60 years
ago, in a time of war, this nation will be patient, we'll be
determined, and we will be relentless in the pursuit of freedom.
This is becoming clear to al Qaeda terrorists and the
Taliban. (Laughter.) Not long ago, that regime controlled most
of Afghanistan. Today, they control not much more than a few
caves. (Laughter and applause.) Not long ago, al Qaeda's leader
dismissed America as a paper tiger. That was before the tiger
roared. (Applause.) Throughout history, other armies have sought
to conquer Afghanistan, and they failed. Our military was sent
to liberate Afghanistan, and you are succeeding. (Applause.)
We're a long way from finished in Afghanistan. Much
difficult and dangerous work is yet to come. Many terrorists are
still hiding in heavily fortified bunkers in very rugged
territory. They are said to be prepared for a long stay
underground. (Laughter.) But they are in for a sudden change of
plans -- (laughter) -- because one by one, we're going to find
them. And piece by piece, we'll tear their terrorist network
As we fight the terrorists, we are also helping the people
they have persecuted. We have brought tons of food and medicine
to the Afghan people. They will need more help as winter comes,
and we will provide it. Most of all, that country needs a just
and stable government. America is working with all concerned
parties to help form such a government. After years of
oppression, the Afghan people -- including women -- deserve a
government that protects the rights and dignity of all its
people. America is pleased by the Afghan progress in creating an
interim government -- and we're encouraged by the inclusion of
women in positions of authority.
And the war on terror continues beyond Afghanistan, with the
closing of bank accounts and the arrests of known terrorists.
We've put the terrorists and the nations in the world on notice:
We will not rest until we stop all terrorists of global reach.
And for every nation that harbors or supports terrorists, there
will be a day of reckoning. (Applause.)
A few days from now, I will go to a great American
institution, the Citadel, to describe the new capabilities and
technologies we will need to wage this broad war on terrorism
for years to come. We will need the intelligence to find the
enemy where he dwells, and the means to strike swiftly across
the world. We must have a military organized for decisive and
total victory. And to you, the men and women of our military, I
make this pledge: you will have every resource, every weapon,
every tool you need to win the long battle that lies ahead.
This war came oh so suddenly, but it has brought out the
best in our nation. We have learned a lot about ourselves and
about our friends in the world. Nations stand with us, because
this is civilization's fight. Today we take special pride that
one of our former enemies is now among America's finest friends:
we're grateful to our ally, Japan, and to its good people.
Today, our two Navies are working side by side in the fight
The bitterness of 60 years ago has passed away. The
struggles of our war in the Pacific now belong to history. For
Americans who fought it, and suffered its losses, what remains
is the lasting honor of service in a great cause, and the memory
of the ones who fell.
Today, at Pearl Harbor, veterans are gathering to pay
tribute to the young men they remember who never escaped the
sunken ships. And over the years, some Pearl Harbor veterans
have made a last request. They asked that their ashes be brought
down and placed inside the USS Arizona. After the long lives
given them, they wanted to rest besides the best men they ever
Such loyalty and love remain the greatest strength of the
United States Navy. And the might of our Navy is needed again.
When America looks at you -- the young men and women who defend
us today -- we are grateful. On behalf of the people of the
United States, I thank you for your commitment, your dedication
and your courage.
May God bless you, and may God bless America. (Applause.)
I am also looking forward to his speech next week at The Citadel.
This was a great speech, and it was obvious how much he loves those guys, and how much they love him. God bless him, and God bless America!
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