tv Americas Newsroom With Bill Hemmer Dana Perino FOX News September 11, 2021 6:00am-8:00am PDT
[reading of names] >> it is that day again, september 11th, 20 years later. over the next two hours, we'll embrace two decades of death and life, and we'll reflect on the last 27 days in kabul. you will hear many of the names, the names we promised to never forget as we say good morning from ground zero. i'm bill hemmer on this 9/11 yet again. dana: and i'm dana perino. it's an honor to be here. we are coming to you live where 20 years ago america came under attack. bill: it started with disbelief
and ended with a unified national resolve, and within days we moved to hunt down the terrorists that murdered nearly 3,000 in cold blood. dana: the evil did not discriminate. the victims were men, women and children of all races and religions. bill: some of them were going to work, boarding flights, others were fighting to save lives, losing their own in the process that morning. dana: right now in new york city we are approaching our second moment of silence at 9:03 eastern. that's when flight 175 struck the tower, confirming -- south tower, confirming america was, indeed, under attack. bill: the images today from new york, the pentagon and shanksville, pennsylvania, are so sering for so many of us, and it's fascinating to me, dana, how so many can recall the exact moment or the exact hour of what was happening in their own lives on that day, the day prior and the following days after that.
it's also fascinating to hear from young americans today what memories they have or maybe they don't have -- dana: the questions they have. bill: -- and today they will have a lot of time to reflect on where they were in life that day. dana: as we look here at the memorial, you see people gathered, the president of the united states is here as well. [background sounds]
remember you, my friend. ♪ and though you're gone, and my heart is empty, it seems -- ♪ i'll see you in my dreams. ♪ i got your guitar here by my bed. ♪ all your favorite records and all the books that you've read. ♪ and though my soul feels like it's been split at the seams -- ♪ i'll see you in my dreams. ♪ i'll see you in my dreams when
meet you, uncle joey. i heard you were a good person. >> and my husband, thomas michael kelly. we love you and we miss you. bill: and on and on and on it goes. a bit of a surprise appearance, i would say, by bruce springsteen here. twenty years ago he he penned an album called the rising, and you could make a case that was the album, that was the anthem for america, and there are 9 of 15 songs on that album, dana, that really bring home what so many people felt 20 years ago here in the new york area. and there's a line in one of his songs called the sky is still the same unbelievable blue. and today in new york city it is that same unbelievable blue. it is 66 degrees and it is heaven above. we're going to hear from many of our friends and colleagues for the next several hours, karl
rove and bret baier, general jack keane and our reporters stationed across the country and around the world with us today. dana: and i also spoke with to former secretary of state condoleezza rice, and we will play that in just a moment. but we begin with karl rove. karl, it's one of those things i was thinking about as we listened to bruce springsteen there, that everyone should savor these moments of unity this morning, feel how good that a feels. and one of the things you witnessed with the president that day and in the days afterward was that america really came together. we were broken-hearted but not broken. and you were part of that team when, all of a sudden, the presidency changed dramatically. we were at war. >> yes, it did change dramatically. the morning began at emma booker elementary school in florida for president bush at a reading demonstration with second graders. and he was in a classroom when the word of the second strike on
the world trade center came. andy card went in, the white house chief of staff, went many and told the president. -- in and told the president. and i remember vividly how he walked from that classroom where he'd been pushing for the passage of his no child left behind and walked into the room, and the first words he said were, "we're at war." and giving the director of -- get me the director of the fbi and get me the vice president. i saw a man transformed in front of my eyes from a peacetime leader to a wartime leader, and then the resolve and determination to keep our country safe and to bring the people who did this to justice governed his every day, directed his every action for the next seven, over seven years. dana: if i could add to that, one of the things i remember as his press secretary was even in 2008 i remember being on marine one with him, and we were going
to give a speech about education. and when i looked at him, i said i know in the back of his mind he's always thug constantly -- thinking constantly, no matter how much we're focused on education, he was constantly thinking are we doing all we can to prevent another attack on this country. and while we were broken, in terms of rising to the call, the men and women who decided to join the armed forces and the intel community, everybody has been completely focused and very successful. i do think that you will hear today about that, karl, when the president speaks later and maybe from some others about, that -- about what was accomplished in the years since in terms of being on the offense, against the war or terror and proving that america was as resilient with as we thought. >> yeah. look, the bush doctrine was fight them over there so we don't have to fight them here on the homeland.
and that governed his every action. it was a successful strategy. but with you're right, i mean, there were lots of things that every president has to deal with every day. but foremost in his mind every day at the beginning of the day with the cia briefing and throughout the day was are we doing what we need to do to keep america safe. it's a terrible responsibility to be a wartime president. it's a fearsome responsibility. and he carried, as you know, in his pocket every day the badge of george howard, a port authority policeman who was killed that day. it was given to him by his mother, arlene howard. and he never, he never forgot the price that america paid that day and vowed it would never happen again. bill: at about 9:37 east coast time, which is about 25 minutes from now, down to the pentagon, that was the moment the airliner
struck the exterior of the pentagon. bret baer was living in atlanta, georgia, that day. he drove north and tried to get as far as he could. bret joins us now with his reflection on that day, the past 20 years and is what we got for it. i think also the context of today must be considered with what we have watched in afghanistan over the past 27 days. how do you reflect on where we've been and where we're doing? >> yeah. will, dana -- bill, dana, good morning. first, it's amazing to me even 20 years later how this day is so visceral, so emotional. obviously, not only for the families and the coworkers of people who died, but also for the nation to listen to this and to hear the bell toll and to hear those families offer their remarks about their loved ones. you know, there are very few moments in our history that are etched in time, specific times
that are in our brain; 8:46, 9:03. the different times the planes hit or crashed, the different times the towers collapsed. and i think there's nothing comparative to this. i do think that the nation has, to karl's point, changed a great deal. but the question of what did we learn from 9/11 and where is the country -- we're not in that 9/12 mentality. and when it comes to counterterrorism after what we saw in afghanistan, there are a lot of questions about how we're going to go forward. obviously, we've gotten a lot better at counterterrorism, thwarting threats around the world. but after seeing the taliban now today on the 20th anniversary of 9/11 celebrating the inauguration of the new taliban with government -- taliban government, it is tough. today's not about politics though. it's about remembrance.
and i think that the world changed. do we remember enough, is the question. bill: you wonder where we'll be on year 25 or year 30 or year 40 even. because this story and this war is not over. dana: it's interesting, bret, if you think about each here the relationships that were formed that came after 9/11, and i remember first meeting you this washington, d.c -- in washington, d.c. and covering all of these stories; the war in afghanistan, the war in iraq. and then coming together now to work at fox news. i think that there's -- i feel a tremendous amount of gratitude for, obviously, the first responders. and then you think about all the people in the field as well, the intelligence community, the law enforcement and especially for the young people. think of the 13 that we we lost in kabul, the service members. and, bret, many of them continue
to sign up to seven their country because -- to serve their country because they understand how important it is to be a part of the mission and the movement that is the one to protect america. and i think that we can't lose sight of the fact that there are still so many people in this country willing to come together to do what is right. >> you're right. it's a grateful feeling for all of the especially law enforcement and military members who signed up. there's a whole generation of kids who because of 9/11 got engaged in that way. and, you know, when i was listening to the tape that we only play once a year, and that is really detailed about the moment by moment and the pain of seeing that again, it does give me goose bumps, but it also is a time for the young generation that doesn't remember this, that wasn't around to see what it was like. and perhaps that's another
generation of service. that's the mindset that i think people, a lot of people up here in washington are hoping we get to. bill: yeah. a generation of service, well put. want to bring in general jack keane here. general, we have spoken, i think, 19 times as we reflect on 20 years. finish -- and what did we get for that fight, general, if you think about afghanistan today and and what are we in for next? >> yeah. well, certainly the implications of what has happened in afghanistan loom heavy over this 9/11 ceremony, certainly, and our remessage brans and our reflection of our fallen here and also the celebration of our heroes. and the 9/11 generation that stood up and has prosecuted the war on terror for these 20 years. but it is a fact and it's undeniable that we went to
afghanistan clearly to get after the al-qaeda, take the taliban regime down who enabled them to conduct that attack on 9/11, and we accomplished that. but now the taliban are in charge of afghanistan, al-qaeda has a safe haven again. not sometime in the future, it's there now because they're in somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 provinces. isis will have an opportunity to grow and other foreign terrorists will have an opportunity to come to afghanistan. it puts the country at a greater risk in the mind of the director of the cia to president biden. so the future is uncertain as a result of what took place in afghanistan. it looms heavy over us, and it's uncomfortable, i think, for many who served and fought in that war to see the taliban now in charge. it is disturbing. it weighs heavily on me. i was in the pentagon on nerve. i saw this up -- on 9/11.
it i saw this up close. it changed my life are. i've been involved in national security and foreign policy because of 9/11. when i left the army, i stayed on top of it, i immersed myself in it. i'm only on television because of that commitment to keep america safe. but i am concerned about going forward and as are other people in the military and in our intelligence services. we have the wherewithal to still deal with this. what we need is vigilance and the kind of resolve and determination that was reflected on 9/11. it was absolutely amazing. as you mentioned, bill, the national resolve and resiliency that this country displayed, ma bin laden didn't -- osama bin laden didn't understand america. he thought this would crush america. that's why he attacked our symbol, our economy, our military strength, democracy at the capitol -- which failed, of course. he thought we'd be crushed bit. little did he know that we would
come together and respond and with determination and resolve, and it would propel our youngsters forward to deal with the horror of terrorism and succeed at dealing with it. and he underestimated us. and that was our best of the best as far as i'm concerned in how we handled that. we need that national resolve and determination once again in this country because this threat has not gone away. dana: general keane, thank you. to that end, i spoke with then-national security adviser donald please a saw rice about what happened that day -- condoleezza rice about what you're speak about, general. let's listen to her. madam secretary, it's always a pleasure to see you and have you to help us commemorate this day of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. i recently watched one of the documentaries that has come out, and i learned something about you i didn't know which is that on the day, on 9/11, you had the first and only time that you raised your voice at president
bush. can you tell us why? >> well, you know him well having worked for him, and, you know, i didn't mean to be disrespectful, and i don't think he took it that way, but he said in our telephone conversation i'm coming back. and i said you can't do that. america is -- the united states of america is under attack, it's not safe here. and thinking back on it, maybe i was a little too insistent. and later on in the day he was insistent on coming back. i felt that i had to get across that we needed him safe. the rest of us would handle things on the ground in washington, but we needed him safe at that moment. dana: i know he probably stole a couple extra fries from your plate the next time you had lunch to get over that. [laughter] the other thing is that i thought was interesting on that day he does return to the white house, one of the reasons he wanted to get back is he wanted to address the nation from the
oval office so a speech was prepared. and there was a line in the speech that maybe gave you pause or that you said we've got to be the really sure about this. let me read it to everybody here. it was this one here where the president says, "we will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them." what was going through your mind in terms of the consequences for a statement like that from the leader of the free world? >> well, this was a big policy decision, and that speech that he gave that night, he very clearly said he wanted it just to be about reassurance. and we really hadn't had a chance to debate whether or not we wanted to say that if you harbor a terrorist, potentially we'll treat you as a terrorist which is what became known as the bush doctrine. but he felt if he didn't say it then, that night, that it would feel like an afterthought, and he wanted to put, basically, the taliban on notice right then that if they continued to harbor al-qaeda, we would treat them as our enemy.
and he did ask me to run a test, colin are powell, the secretary of state, and don rumsfeld and, of course, the vice president was there. but it was his decision that we were going to make that policy statement despite the fact that this speech had a very different purpose. dana: how soon after you learned of the attacks did you realize that the bush presidency was completely different than what it had been just an hour before? >> it really dawned on me when i got to the bunker. we'd seen the -- i had known that the first plane had flown into the tower and then a second plane, and i had seen on tv that a plane had hit the pentagon. and i went to -- i was, basically, carried to the presidential management, the bunker underneath the white house, and i suddenly saw the vice president on the phone with the president. and the air force had asked
should they shoot down any aircraft that wasn't responding properly. and the realization that the american president had just given an order to shoot down civilian aircraft if necessary because every plane had become a missile, a potential missile, that was when i knew that we were in uncharted territory, that his presidency was never going to be the same, that he was going to face these awful choices all along the way. and i think that moments sticks in my mind as the moment when i realized he was now a war president. dana: in the haas couple of weeks, few weeks, you wrote in "the washington post" about the importance of america's credibility and that the taliban -- that china, russia and iran have taken our measure -- excuse me, not the taliban. you talked about needing to reinforce our commitment and credibility. and this morning on september 10th, excuse me, you write about the importance of making sure that we understand that we are
safer today than we were on september 10, 2001, but that we have to remain extremely vigilant. we don't have eyes and ears on the ground now in afghanistan. what about our credibility and this importance of trying to make sure we keep america safe as we look ahead? >> dana, credibility is not divisible. you can't say, well, we're not credible there, but we're credible over here. and so the fact that we left afghanistan in the way that we did and showed that we lacked the patience9 and the will to keep even a small presence in a place where the attacks were launched from on that day, to allow an implacable enemy like the taliban to retake the territory that they once held, that's going to be read in other place. and i think we have to now really take steps, for instance, with the chinese to say, well, yes, it's true that we didn't stick it out in afghanistan, but
we will honor our commitments to taiwan under the taiwan relations act to help taiwan defend itself. you can imagine in beijing that they're thinking if you wouldn't stick it out in afghanistan, will you really honor that promise the taiwan? and you can't just say it now. you can't just say, well, our credibility's intact. it's not. you've got to do some things to show that you're credible, and so i don't know whether it's exercises or an arms package, but with we've got to start sending messages to the rest of the world that a we are still the united states of america, we will honor our commitments, and we will do so because we understand that our security is inextricably e linked to that of others. dana: my last question for you is what would you say to educators across the country who are in the classrooms educating young people who weren't alive on these, on the day of these attacks or too young to understand it? how would you approach teaching them about it now? >> it's not a theoretical proposition for me because i am
a university professor who has students who were not alive on september 11th. i would just say that, i would say to them on that day we learned something that we had known intellectually, but we felt it in a way that we'd never felt if it. the security of the united states is inextricably linked to the security of others. the fact is that our protective oceans on both sides, our peaceful neighbors to the north and south are not enough to keep us safe. we sometimes have to take the fight to other places so that they can't bring the fight to us. and that we kept the peace for 20 years, so that was well worth doing. but i would also say to them as much as this is a security matter and as much as i think we have made ourselves safer -- if not completely safe -- also remember that america's always better when it's leading both from power and from principle. and it is a good thing that we wanted to make afghanistan a
better place for the people of afghanistan, that we cared about the fate of women in that country, that we cared about the afghan people enjoying just some of the basic liberties that we often take for granted. and so never forget that america is more than just its power, it's also its values expressed abroad in that way. and however this all turns out, i think we did the right thing. dana: never forget, indeed, and thank you for helping us remember. madam secretary, thank you. [reading of names]
>> and my aunt, anna mercedes. we miss you, we love you and you've been an inspiration to our lives, especially in my if life, and i see more grand a ma, your faith and grandma's faith especially throughout the years. your smile will always stay in us, and you will forever live in us. we miss you and love you. >> and my if sister-in-law, colleen ann dockery. col, can't believe it's 20 years. your children are living your legacy. they are walking in your footsteps and making a difference in this world. your amazing husband jay has been with them every step of the way these past 20 years, and we talk about you all the time at all events when we're all
>> and my mother, barbara keating, a passenger on american airlines flight 11, she devoted most of her life to serving marginalized communities such as those with physical and intellectual disabilities. she was the director of a big brothers, big sisters chapter in massachusetts, and after surviving cancer twice, she spent her golden years driving cancer patients to their medical appointments and volunteered daily in her church in palm springs. mom, the world was a better place with you in it, and you're still missed after 20 years by your children and grandchildren of whom you'd be very proud. >> and my father, robert w. hikingly ii. dad, it's been 20 years since you've been gone, and there's nothing i can say more than i miss goofing off with you, i miss your jokes, and the light i see in the smile of my daughter who reminds me so much of you. we love and miss you, and i still wish you could be here so
you could see how proud we're making you. bill: they are some of the more touching moments that we hear every year, and it's an extraordinary thing, dana, to think that the reading of the names takes hours. dana: yeah. bill: which just reflects the sheer volume of loss of human life the that occurred that morning. dana: and i always marvel at their dignity and their grace and their composure. and i think that grief that she misses her dad's dad jokes. [laughter] everyone knows a cad joke. bill: that's right. every year the first name, they're read in alphabetical order, and his name is chiseled in the bronze behind us here on the east side of the south tower building. it's a place i go every year to visit his name and think about his life and his kids that are still alive today. so year number one we come down
here for the ceremony, and the city expected 5,000 family members to show up. the ceremony starts at 8:45, and they had 25,000 people at 8:30 over here on the west side highway. and they walked down this ramp, dana -- back then you had this pit, this pile, and they were still under the construction process because they really weren't sure what they were going to do to build here. and the dust was blowing in their face and their eyes and their clothes, and it was, it was a moment where they were walked down this ramp, and they would linger for as long as they possibly could. dana: very -- [inaudible] bill: that was 19 years ago. dana: it's a very special memorial it. they've done an incredible job here. if you have a chance to visit, new york city would love to have you. bill: the pentagon is now beginning, and we want to take you down there, across the river
from washington d.c. >> -- delivered assistance and each saved others -- and even saved others in this time of tragedy and need. lord, 20 years later our prayer is that we unite together as a nation and embrace one another with dignity and respect for all, that we seek peaceful resolutions and we learn to choose love over fear each day. and, lord, with your help, o god, help us find hope and
>> ladies and gentlemen, please be seated. it is my pleasure to introduce general mark a.milley, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. >> mr. secretary, distinguished guests, thank you all for participating in this morning's ceremony. but most importantly, i want to thank the people who are here for today, the survivors of the
murderous attack on this building and the families of the fallen. thank you all for participating, and we are all deeply humbled to be standing here on this sacred ground. twenty years ago began as a temperature typical morning -- as a typical morning for pentagon employees. those in uniform and our civilian colleagues settled into the rhythms of a normal tuesday morning with a near-cloudless sky, temperatures in the low 60s, and it promised to be a beautiful day. the passengers and crew of american airlines flight 77 were a little over an hour into their flight from dulles to l.a.; fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters. all that changed at 9:37 a.m. as
the innocent were caught in the crossfire of terror. the ideology of hatred unfolded on this very ground. in seconds, scores of lives were lost. 184 men, women and children were slaughtered in the violent impact and fury. 59 passengers and crew, 125 of our pentagon colleagues and the innocent ranged in age from 3 to 71 years old. those who perished here were among the 2,977 killed on that day here, in new york and in pennsylvania. not for what they did, but for what they believed and what they
represented. not for anything they did, but rather, for who they were. the people we lost that day are not just names and numbers. we remember them today for not only who they were, but what they could have become. they were irreplaceable to their families, instrumental in their jobs, woven another fabric of their community, full of life and potential. lives cut short. pain that can never be properly described in words. suffering that will never fully heal. and no word that i nor anyone else will ever say that could fill the gaping hole. but we, the living, with we have
a solemn duty to honor their memory, their legacy, to honor and remember them not just today, but every day. the horrific act of terrorism on that day were meant to disrupt our way of life and destroy the idea that is america. that cd is simple --ing that idea is simple yet incredibly powerful. the idea that terrorists hate and fear, the idea that all of us, men and women black and white, asian and indian, no matter what the color of our skin, no matter if we are catholic, protestant, muslim or jew or you choose not to believe at all, the idea is that each and every one of us is created free and equal, the idea that we will rise or fall based on our merit, the idea of a free press, free speech, due process of law,
the right to vote or peacefully assemble in protest for or against this cause or that, the idea of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. all of that is what our fallen believed in and what they embodied. all of the values and principles embedded in our constitution and made real in our daily lives paid for with the blood of the fallen on this place at 9:37 on september 11th, 2001. those ideas were and still are hated by our enemies, the fascists, the nazis, the communist, al-qaeda, isis, the taliban, authoritarians, dictators and tyrants of all kinds. they hate those ideas. they hate those values. and on 9/11 they tried to
destroy us, they tried to divide us, and they tried ultimately, in vain, to terrify us. but their murderous intent was never realized. instead of sow ising fear and division, we gathered in new york and pennsylvania, right here at the pentagon, and we came together as a nation with acts of heroism, unity and perseverance. many conducted by you in the audience today. while we grieve for our fallen, we celebrate the life they led. their legacy lives on in the idea that is america, and no terrorist anywhere on earth can ever destroy that idea. since that dark day 20 years ago, the men and women of the united states military have fought tirelessly to defeat terrorists in afghanistan and around the world. both at home and a abroad, their talents, their efforts and their courage, their personal valor
has carried or this fight day and night. we did not fear what was this front of us because we loved what's behind us. 800,000 of us in uniform served in afghanistan over the last 20 years. tens of thousands more have served elsewhere in the collective fight against terrorism, and thousands more stand watch today all around the world. 2,461 of us gave the last full measure of devotion including 13 two weeks ago. while 20,698 of us were wounded and untold thousands more suffer with the invisible wounds of war as we close this terrible chapter in our nation's history. for two consecutive decades, our men and women in uniform along
with our brothers and sisters in the intelligence and law enforcement agencies, protected our nation from terrorist attacks. for those of us in uniform, for our families who have suffered and sacrificed along our side, for those who have supported us, these have been incredibly motional, exhausting and trying years and we are all now, this very day, very conflicted with feelings, pain and anger, sorrow and sadness combined with pride and resilience. but one thing i am certain of, for every soldier, sailor, airman and marine, for every cia officer, for every fbi agent, for every cop and fireman, you did your duty. your service mattered. your sacrifice was not in vain. so let us resolve, let us
resolve here yet again today on this hallowed ground to never forget, to never forget those who were murdered by terrorists, never forget those who rushed to save their lives and gave theirs in exchange, never forget the sons and daughters, the brothers and sisters and the mothers and fathers who gave their tomorrows for oured todays -- for our todays. honor them. honor them today and forever. honor the cause they served. honor their commitment to this experiment in liberty that we call the united states of america. ladies and gentlemen, it's now my pleasure and deep honor to introduce secretary of defense of the united states of america, the honorable lloyd j. austin. [applause]
>> thank you. it is an honor to be here with you and especially with the families and loved ones of those taken from us 20 years ago. with the first responders who raced to help and with our brothers and sisters in arms whose lives were changed forever on that day of fire. on behalf of the department of defense, let me renew our deepest condolences to the families and and loved ones of all those lost on 9/11 including the 184 souls taken from us in
the attack on the pentagon, in the building and on flight 77. we know that you carry pain every day. we know that you bear your losses not just at times of ceremony, but also in ordinary moments of absence. in quiet minutes that can seem to stretch on for hours. all of us are here because we remember. and i hope knowing that is at least some measure of comfort. just as we once worked alongside so many of them, we now mourn alongside all of you.
today of all days we gather their memory close, and my thoughts turn to lieutenant general tim maude, an outstanding soldier and leader. he was killed on 9/11 while serving as the army's deputy chief of staff for personnel. i still wish that we could turn to him for, for counsel. and i still remember his love for his soldiers, his army and his country. we know that the memories can be hard to bear, and we we know the sorrow doesn't end. but over the years we hope that the good memories come to us more often and more easily. and today we remember not just
who our fallen teammates were, but we remember the mission that they shared. and we recall their common commitment to defend our republic and to squarely face new dangers. as many of you know, the construction of the pentagon began on another september 11th back in 1941. as war raged overseas, workers with steam shovels began digging that morning into the virginia clay. historians say that it was a perfect late-day summer -- late summer day. with a crystal clear, blue sky and a hint of fall in the air. on that september 11th night, president franklin roosevelt
gave a fireside chat about the growing threat of nazi aggression. america's attention was turned inward and and focused on the depression. but president was sure that his fellow citizens, whom he called hardheaded and far scyth-- farsighted, could meet the challenges of fascism. he said the american people have faced other great crises in their history. with american courage, with american resolution. they will do no less today. and the president added that his fellow citizens knew that times of the testing called for clear heads and fearless hearts. clear heads and fearless hearts.
that's what our times demand again. and they demand that we remember that same september day 60 years later expect -- and the ideals that brought our teammates to work on september 11th, 2001. now, almost a quarter of the citizens who we defend today were born after 9/11, and that includes thousands of our outstanding young service members. and many of the 13 brave men and women who just days ago gave their lives to save others in afghanistan were babies back in 2001. and as secretary of defense and a veteran of the afghan war, let me underscore again how much we
owe to all those who fought and to all those who fell while serving our country in afghanistan. as the years march on, we must insure that all our fellow americans know and understand what happened here on 9/11. and in manhattan and in shanksville, pennsylvania. s it is our responsibility to remember and it is our duty to defend democracy. we cannot know what the next 20 years will bring. we cannot know what new dangers they will carry. we cannot foresee what churchill once called the originality of malice. but we do know that america will always lead, and we do know the
only compass that can guide us through the storms ahead, it is our core values and the principles enshrined in our constitution. liberty, rights, the rule of law. expect fierce commitment -- and the fierce commitment to a government of the people, by the people and for the people. it is our job to defend the great experiment that is america, to protect this exceptional republic body and soul and to defend the american people in our democracy. even when it's hard. especially when it's hard. and, ladies and gentlemen, we must be tireless guardians of
our ideals as well as our security. because we cannot have one without the other. let me thank again the families of the loved ones and survivors for all that you have given and for the inspiration that you provide. the hallways that we tread were the ones that so many of them walked. it will always be our duty to pull fill their missions concern to fulfill their mission ands to live up to their goodness and to stand guard over this democracy. we still work here. we still remember here. and we still uphold our values here. with clear heads and fearless hearts. thank you and may god protect
the united states of america. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, please stand for "god bless america." bill: while the ceremony at the pentagon was underway, the one at shanksville, pennsylvania, also started. we'll be taking you live in a moment. we're just about a minute away from the next moment of silence here in new york, and that is when the south tower fell. we will bring that to you during the course of our coverage today. we want to thank our fox stations across the country. twenty years removed, for many it seems like we've got such a
jeffrey p. walz, fdny, ladder 9. although i never got the privilege to meet you, so many people tell me that i remind them of you in so many ways, and i'm so honored to have your name as my middle name. we love and miss you dearly. bill: god bless. names continue here. i think, dana, for so many young americans this is about, quite honestly, learning about pearl harbor, a day when america was attacked in december of 1941 that cast us into a war at that point. the comparison is apt when you consider the past 20 years. the names go on and on, and we will have another moment here in new york in about 20 minutes or
so when the north tower fell. and we'll bring that to you when it happens. and, dana, what i recall from 20 years ago when the south tower fell first, remember the north tower was hit first, but the south tower fell first, so many had thought there's so much steel and construction in these buildings, how in the world could they come down from the sky, and they did. and when it happened, i was in my car driving south in atlanta back in to work on the radio, and i heard that, and i thought how many people are on a new york city sidewalk at 10:00 in the morning? there must be hundreds, if not thousands. luckily for them, they moved away from the buildings. but for 3,000 others trapped above floor 82, floor 92, this was the end on that beautiful, sunny morning 20 years ago today. cain deign you're also looking, of course, at the pentagon there where the attack happened. and then down screen is, bottom-right, that is shanksville, pennsylvania, and i
believe we're looking at vice president kamala harris and president george w. bush. both will be speaking. we'll bring that to you live. excuse me, it is her husband. it's hard for me to see. doug emhoff, of course, the second gentleman. bill: president biden was here. we saw him standing along with president obama, hillary clinton and bill clinton as well. you may have noticed he left the ceremony. he's going to hit all three locations, but we do not expect a speech anyway, that's the guidance from the white house. he did release a video last night online by way of the white house. want to bring in karl rove and bret baier as we continue to bring you the images and the sounds from all three locations now. karl, you were watching that pentagon moment. i'm going to get bret's reflections as well, but what came to mind when you were listening to those speeches? >> well, i remember 20 years ago
the secret service was desperate to get president bush to air force one and up to 40,000 feet and safety. and so we were in the motorcade going about 85 miles an hour when the phone rang in the limousine. the president took the phone. i could only a hear one side of the conversation, but i knew it was bad when he said is rumsfeld alive. the strike on the pentagon. and when that happened, donald rumsfeld, secretary of state -- oldest secretary of state in history, youngest in his previous service -- he didn't go to the safety of the bunker. he went to where the plane had struck the building. i heard a story the other day from one of the victims, a terrible burn victim. but he was desperate to go and rescue some of his colleagues. so he rushed to the epicenter of the strike. and as he rounded the corn kerr, he ran into a -- corner, he ran into a guy with a suit who said to him, these fumes are dangerous, you get out of here.
and this guy colorfully told the guy in the suit what he was going to do and to get the hell out of his way. and the guy said to him, i'm the secretary of state, and i'm ordering you to get out of here. and that was don rumsfeld. he went to the heart of the fire. he passed this her at the age of 89. -- this summer. i'll never forget the heroism he showed that day. dana: bret baier, you knew secretary rumsfeld as well. your thoughts this morning. of course, you covered the pentagon in the years after the attack. >> yeah. you know, as defense secretary, he was quite something, and that image of rumsfeld getting, helping first responders get some of the injured people out on stretchers right outside the burning pentagon was really iconic. and, obviously, he played a significant role in all that was happening in the early days about how the war was going to be handled. you know, at 9:37 flight if 77
hits the pentagon, it goes through three outer rings of the five-ring pentagon. 189 people are killed there including those onboard flight 77. what's striking is overall 2,997 people died on 9/11. but we forget that there were 25,000 people who were injured. and, you know, this day for the families is the most sering, but there are many people dealing with the images that they saw. you know, bill, your special the lost calls of 9/11 with the people who saw the people jumping from the building, and there are images like that from the pentagon. and at that time when the pentagon was hit, i was on the road from atlanta to new york to back up reporting in new york. we were told to drive after the second plane hit. we were then rerouted to the pentagon after the third plane hit, and i started covering outside the pentagon, the burning pentagon, in the days that followed and i never left.
and what i think about most is the images of that day and how that changed everything. and the military action that happened after that. and i have one more thing about that speech from the chairman of the joint chiefs and the secretary of defense. it's impossible to remove what we just experienced over the last month in afghanistan and the taliban and this administration in -- and the words used to describe the taliban today were much more in line with what the taliban was and is, a terror group. bill: dually noted. -- duly noted. thank you, bret. we're a few moments away from in shanksville we're actually going to hear a speech from former president bush. he is there today. that's coming up in around 17 minutes or so. a man who was with the president that day 20 years ago joins us here in new york now.
ari fleischer, welcome finish. >> good morning. bill: you have taken to the twitter feed every year to mark every moment in your own personal way. thank you for being here. what do you think about? >> you know, it just takes me back. and the thing is if you think about where you were 20 years ago, i was traveling with the president, so i saw things from the commander in chief's perspective. but it's so important to hear things from the perspective of children, of parents talking about the father that they miss, the child who's gone from their lives. that's the hardest part about today, isn't it? there's almost -- i don't want to use the word disconnect, but when you're flying with the president, you're thinking about war. you're thinking about relief for new york. you're thinking about macro. it's about local, it's about micro. the moving stories that i heard all morning as they read the names. dana: i wanted to ask you about the president that day.
i recently watched a documentary where you were interviewed as well p he talked about his anger. he was mad, and he said he couldn't -- didn't want to make a decision in the midst of that anger because he was angry. how did he describe what he was going to say that night when he got back to washington? what do you recall from that? >> a couple things, dana. one, he was mad. i remember when he said to dick cheney, when we find out who did this, we're going to kick their ass. and that is how he spoke. on the flight back, he called karen hughes, counselor to the president in charge of speeches, and he starts to tell karen what it was he wanted to say, and it was going to be a message of reassurance, that's how he put it. and he talked about the world leaders we had a heard from. he set the tone, gave the instructions to karen and the speech writers, and that's how that came together. as you know, george bush was very hands on about his speeches. they had to reflect him, his
heart, his gut and he supervised it so it would sound like him. dana: and he knew he was a wartime president at that point. >> this is the part that sends a chill down my spine. i can talk about the memories of this morning -- the individual memories, but when you're standing next to the president of the united states and you hear him say we're at war, september 11th, that sent a shiver down my spine because i knew he meant it. and i knew what it meant to bring up and rally the military might of this country after we had been attacked. i knew a counterattack would be coming, and that was chilling. bill: ari, we would be remiss not to try and put in context what we have all watched from afghanistan over the past 27 days, the c-17 down the runway on august 16th, that morning when we watched that video, losing 13 service members to a
suicide bombing, the way we chose to end that 20-year conflict which many argue is not over and some argue that we'll be back there in due course. how were you able to put in perspective maybe what we watched over the past month? >> great difficulty. bill: knowing that we were going to have this day right around the corner. >> you know, when i heard president biden say he wanted to make september 11th the date by which we withdrew, my instant gut last april was wrong day. this is day of just remembrance. this should not be a symbolic day for any other purpose. make it october 7th, the day the counterattack in afghanistan began, not september 11th. but, bill, all you can do now is hope that the president has has it right. that we are able to just withdraw everything from afghanistan, our intelligence, our forward operations, our support for the afghan military and just hope he's right and that there won't be another attack that's planned in
afghanistan. experience says that's not right, but you just have the hope the president of the united states, joe biden, is right and we'll be safe. dana: speaking of experience, general jack keane, you've heard, sir, from the pentagon, both milley and austin. and secretary rice talking about where we are now, and the most solemn application of any president is to keep the united states safe. to ari's point, you know, i understand, hope absolutely, but hope doesn't feel like enough. >> yeah, well, what i appreciated about the discussion that general milley and secretary of defense put forward certainly today was representative, i think, of what americans feel. this is an attack on us and who we are, what we stand for, what our principles are.
and that clearly was what osama bin laden had in mind. he created a movement that he developed an ideology and reflected a 13th, 14th radical islamist. and it was another ideology that dominated and controlled the world much like naziism, fascism and communism. and it is because of that ideology we are challenged with this movement. as we kill and capture people, they are replaced. and we've had a very good strategy, in my mind, to take the battle to them and prevent another 9/11. we have done that successfully for 20 years. but it's largely a defensive strategy, when you think about it. what we're trying to do is prevent another attack. what we have been challenged by is an offensive strategy to defeat the ideology. and that is because that ideology lies in the grievances and the challenges that are in
these various states which are breeding grounds for radical islamist terrorists. they seek this ideology because it gives them meaning and purpose in their life. that has been very challenging for us to deal with. and in trying to change those conditions which breed this ideology. going forward here, in my judgment, yes, i agree with ari, we certainly want the president's decision to be the right one, that afghanistan is not going to become a breeding ground for future attacks on the united states. we are going to be challenged to be able to track and identify the terrorists that'll be growing up in afghanistan because with we don't have the presence. that's obvious to anybody looking at that. attacking something that we identify is not going to be as challenging. tracking it will really be the issue going forward. and we're going to have to maintain that vigilance. i think today is a day of remembrance, certainly, and
reflection, but it can also be a day of renewal of our commitment and our vigilance to stay on top of this. and we have got to make that commitment. and we have succeeded so well in this country. we haven't spoken much about it, but how the fbi and the intelligence programs that were developed, the counterintelligence programs in our country to protect us, the finances that the department of treasury has been able to go after and take away, we have an incredible capability post-9/11 that we didn't have before in dealing with these problems. and, certainly, we have created an awareness in america about what this threat is about. i am optimistic. i'm optimistic because of the american people. and their resolve and the vigilance and determination that they have shown 20 years ago and they still continue to show
today. the terrorists with their ideology will never defeat the idea of america. it is not possible. the idea is too big, it's too great, it touches too many people's hearts and affects too many people's character. that is our strength. it is our -- the idea of america that burns inside of us and gives so many people in america the willingness to stand up and die for that idea. and i'm absolutely encouraged by the fact that we have those kind of people in america, and we will go forward, and we will meet the threats that america's going to be challenged by. and america will continue to stand for what it is, and america will continue to survive. bill: thank you, general, for that. america's sacrifice, that is what it has been for 20 years. jen griffin standing by at the pentagon. jeff -- jen, good morning to you there. we've been watching and
listening to speeches. pentagon did a great job. what are your observations? >> reporter: well, bill, i think listening to general keane i have to agree with him that there is no person who works in the building behind me or who is part of our, the u.s. military who believes that the war against terrorism is over. you heard general milley speak about the radical ideologies, the hateful ideologies that led to the 9/11 attacks. he included in that speech the taliban, and that was not in the original remarks x. so i think it's very important, very important to remember that this building is still at war even if they don't have troops in afghanistan. last night when i walked out of the pentagon last night, i spoke to the senior enlisted adviser to chairman milley, master sergeant lopez, and i didn't
know his full story, but he was an elite para-rescueman with seal team six, and the day after 9/11 he deployed to afghanistan. he escorted hamid karzai and saved his life as he entered kabul after the taliban fell. for people hike that who are still serving, this is personal. and the passion that you heard, the pain, the anger that you heard in the speeches behind me, that is reel. and then -- that is real. and then there are the survivors. i spoke to family members of people like chad keller who was a young up and coming, amazing engineer who worked on satellites. he died at the age of 29 onboard, you know, he was here at the pentagon when american airlines flight 77 hit. and speaking to his father, he's truly -- you just can't believe the loss those 1 is 84 lives -- 184 lives here at the pentagon. so that's what struck me this morning. this has been, this has been a 20-year journey for all of us. i was in the middle east at the
time, and we've been covering our counterterrorism efforts ever since. back to you. bill: great to be with you, thank you, jen. jen griffin there at pentagon. in the moment here, there will be quite a song in shanksville. you'll hear that momentarily. i want to bring it back to ari fleischer. a majority of the american people said we can debate whether we did it the right way, clearly, because we saw it with our own eyes, cameras here and throughout kabul. he has chosen not to speak live today. what do you think of that? >> i'm not sure it was his choice not to speak. now, first of all, to be fair about it, i think you have to go back to the previous american presidents on the 5th, the 10th, the sawth anniversaries -- 15th anniversaries, especially here in new york. new york takes this very seriously as a moment of remembrance just for the families.
they don't like politicians of any type speaking at an event which should only be focused on those lost, for their children, their parents. so to be charitable, i don't read anything into the fact that joe biden's not speaking in new york. i do believe previous presidents spoke at shanksville and at the pentagon. but it's appropriate for all presidents, i will not create are size the president of the united states for paying -- criticize the president of the united states for paying his respects. s the appropriate, right thing to do for any president of any party. you come, you listen, you pay your respects and you go. politicians don't always need to speak. bill: in about 90 seconds, the north tower will have fallen 20 years ago, 10:28 a.m. eastern time. there'll be a moment of silence here in new york as we see air force one, and that's the
president. he's going to make three tops today, appropriately enough, new york, shanksville and the pentagon. as we get ready for that time here in new york, let's drop in and hear just a few more names. and just for the record, this started at 8:45. it's now 10:26 east coast time. they've been reading names for nearly an hour and 45 minutes, and it continues now. [reading of names] ♪♪ ♪ amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like
the american dream alive, and i ask for everyone to honor that and keep it alive and to continue to support and defend your country and protect your loved ones. my children speak to you all the time, and i feel your support. thank you. >> and we remember so many of the americans lost to violence, oppression andon and the pandemn our great country. who do not receive a moment of recognition and whose families mourn them deeply as we do here today. and my beloved sister, katherine patricia subtle iser, she had a -- sulter, she had a problem of saying get over it. we have never gotten over it, but we try to live life fully each year and your love and companionship as a sister continues to inspire us and to inspire me. your light shone bright and beautiful, and you live on in
our hearts. bill: they're all so touching. you could listen to it all day long and you feel for them and you feel the emotion. dana: they're so united if their grief and holding each other up in a very difficult time here in mat hat taan -- manhattan, lower manhattan. soon you will hear from president george w. bush in shanksville. let's listen in, see how they're setting that up. >> -- i too live with the grief, consuming and always present. for those that lost loved ones in the terrorist attacks on our country 20 years ago today, you know that we can never move on but that we must continue to move forward. on september 11th, 2001, we lost a total of 2,977 innocent souls. and that morning more than 6,000
people were injured in the attack on our country. 2,606 died in the world trade center. 125 at the pentagon. and 246 innocent people were murdered on the four hijacked planes, 40 of which were on flight 93 brought down here in a field just outside of shanksville, pennsylvania. and our heroes fought to overcome the evil brought to our shores that morning. to date, an additional 2,000 first responders that took part in the immediate rescue and continued recovery efforts have have died from related illnesses. and with every month, we continue to lose more. if the ripple effect of september 11th is unfathomable. there are still many questions to be answered about the day,
facts to be declassified and released and justice to be served. so much of september 11th involved pain, loss and terror. our lives were never to be the same. and yet from the ashes of the day, stories of heroism and extraordinary courage emerged, providing hope to a world adrift in fear and confusion. first responders running into burning buildings with little regard for their own safety while citizens inside those buildings refused the run from m danger so they could offer assistance and comfort to those less able, surely knowing that their decision would cost them all but their honor. and here in the skies over southwestern pennsylvania, a group of 40 individuals --
mostly strangers -- when becoming aware of what was taking place on the ground that morning, found the courage to band together at a moment's notice without regard for political, religious, professional or cultural differences. our 40, under extreme conditions, were able to change the course of history, averting the potential of our final image that fateful day being the capitol dome collapsed and on fire, the greatest symbol of our democracy in ruins. as the personification of that symbol, our heroes embraced the tenets of democracy that no expression of terrorism will ever extinguish, e pluribus unum out of many, one. our heroes united. they formulated a plan when
confronted by a great evil. they prayed. they voted on a course of action, if then they struck -- and then they struck. though in the process they lost their lives, there is no question that they won the first battle in this current war of terrorism. 35 minutes, 9:28 to 10:03 a.m., from the initial terrorist attack on flight 93 until the moment the plane came down on our sacred ground, a lifetime, a moment. forever. yesterday. here on the ground first responders, aware of what was taking place in new york, at the pentagon, and in the midst of fear and uncertainty, instinctively reacted to the
horror that was brought to their rural community in way that has forever altered their lives. these proud men and women of somerset county and the surrounding region demonstrated everything that is awesome about the united states of america. terrorism met rural america; proud, strong, determined. the relationship our families and our nation has forged with this local community is extraordinary. to our extended family here in the somerset county region, you will forever have our complete gratitude. you have 'em based us -- embraced us and the story of our love ones in a selfless, fiercely protective fashion even as you continue to move forward carrying the pain and anguish thrust upon your community 20 years ago.
recently i was listening to former congressman trey gowdy discussing the ultimate sacrifices made with by our men and women in uniform. during the his remarks, i was struck by a common theme that i cannot recall highlighted many prior years. it was a theme that i felt strongly was consistent with the story of the heroes of flight 93 and all those we lost on september 11th. i experienced a moment of clarity that that brought my understanding of heroism and of sacrifice to an uncomfortable reality, moving me to question who we are as a society. what struck such a nerve was not the annual reminder to honor and remember the thousands of lives ripped from the embrace of their families the morning of september 11th, 2001, including the 40 heroes of flight 93; but, rather, the question to be
considered is, are we worthy of their sacrifice? are we worthy? do we as individuals, communities and as a country conduct ourselves in a manner that would make those that sacrificed so much and fought so hard on september 11th proud of who we have become? do we share the same willingness to sacrifice for others in little ways as well as large? to act when necessary if for no other reason than to accomplish a noble goal? i goless and with ono other motivation do we do what's right? do we cherish the hard-earned freedoms that we enjoy? those willing to stand toe to toe with anyone if or any country willing to steal them away? the real question that we must
all ask ourselves is, have we as a society moved on and left the hard-earned lessons of september 11th behind? have we become desensitized to what a really happened that fateful morning? have we diminished the courageous actions of these brave men and women, these heroes we honor today and at the flight 93 national memorial as well as those in new york city and at the pentagon by relegating their stories to the history books? as a country, we shouldn't seek to move on; but with, rather, let us dedicate ourselves to moving forward, honoring and remembering the sacrifices made on september 11th, the lessons we learned, remembering the names of the individuals expect collective actions -- and the collective actions of so many that day.
let us be worthy of the selfless sacrifices that were made. let us remember who we became on september 12th in the aftermath of september 11th. we saw beyond our differences so that, in unity, we could survive the devastation of the day. e pluribus unum. bill: it is such a poetic scene, a field of green in central pennsylvania. we're going to hear from former president bush in a moment here, but todd beemer was onboard flight 93, and his father joins us now. thank you for being here, and thank you for making part of this day, spending it with our audience here. i just want to give you an opportunity to tell us what your message is for america and the millions of people who are watching 20 years later. >> well, we are honored and
privileged to be with some wonderful people in cashmere, washington. i know all across this land this day that people are remembering, and the people of cashmere are no exception. what they've done these years, they are remembering it in an exceptional way. they have built, through much sacrifice and toil, a special memorial to honor those who perished that day and to honor those who did what they had to do that day to try to save and serve and protect. and it's just a privilege for us -- we can't thank everyone about what they do to remember, but we at least have a chance to meet some of these wonderful people in this small town in kashmir to express our gratitude. and that's why we came. a. dana: mr. beemer, your son todd inspires the nation still 20 years later.
it's as fresh today as it was 20 years ago. president george w. bush is being introduced now. this is where he chose to speak today, and i think it really speaks volumes for what it meant to have the first counterattack against terrorism that day, on 9/11, and i want to express my personal thanks to you for raising such a young man who could help join the others in taking a vote and saying the lord's prayer before they took that action. >> what those 40 free people did that day was fewly our first -- truly our first successful counteratrack in this war x we are so so proud of them and grateful for them that they did that. and as 20 years have now seemingly flown by, we also remember the thousands upon thousands that have continued that battle and the fact that we are still free and we are still safe this day, 20 years later. and we honor and thank them and,
of course, we pray for their families, so many who have experienced loss because of their sacrifice and efforts. for them, we are so thankful. bill: david beemer, thank you for giving us your time. and thank you for giving america your brave son todd -- dana: absolutely, sir. thank you. will: god bless. >> thank you for the opportunity and thank you to the wonderful americans at cashmere. dana: absolutely, thank you. bill: please give our best to peggy and the rest of your family. david beemer there. >> will do, thank you. bill: you see first lady -- thank you, sir -- laura bush there along with the 43rd president, and dana, i think you just put your finger on it. he chose to speak here today for a reason. dana: yes, and now this is the speech i've been waiting for, so we will let the president take the stage and give him our full
attention. [applause] >> thank you very much. laura and i are honored to be with you. madam vice president, vice president cheney, governor wolf, secretary holland and gished -- distinguished guests, 20 years ago we all found in different ways, in different places but all at the same moment that our lives would be changed forever. the world was loud with carnage and sirens and then quiet with missing voices that would never be heard again. these lives remain precious to our country and infinitely precious to many of you. today we remember your loss, we share your sorrow and we honor
the men and women that you have loved so long and so well. for those too young the recall that clear september day, it is hard to describe the mix of feelings we experienced. there was horror at the scale of destruction and awe at the bravery and kindness that rose to meet it. there was shock at the audacity of evil and gratitude for the heroism and decency that opposed it. in the sacrifice of the first responders, in the mutual aid of strangers, in the solidarity of grief and grace, the actions of an enemy revealed the spirit of a people, and we were proud of our wounded nation. and these memories the passengers and crew of flight 93
must always have an honored place. here the intended targets became the infamous of rescue, and many who are now alive owe a vast, unconscious debt to the defiance displayed in the skies above this field. it would be a mistake to islize the experience -- idealize the experience of those terrible events. all that people could potentially see was the randomness of death. all that many could feel was suffering. all that many could hear was god's terrible silence. there are many who still struggle with the lonely pain that cuts deep within. in those fateful hours, we learned other lessons as well. we saw that americans were vulnerable but not fragile. that they possess a core of
strength that survives the worst that that life can bring. we learned that bravery is more common than we imagined, emerging with sudden splendor in the face of death. we vividly felt how every hour with our loved ones was a temporary and holy gift, and we found that even the longest days end. many of us have tried to make spiritual sense of these events. there is no simple explanation for the mix of providence and human will that sents the direction of our lives. comfort can come from a different sort of knowledge. after wandering long and lost in the dark, many have found they were actually walking step by step toward or grace. as a nation, our adjust isments have been profound -- adjustments have been profound. many americans struggled to
understand why an enemy would hate us with such zeal. the security measures incorporated into our lives are both sources of comfort and reminders of our vulnerability. and we have seen growing evidence that the dangers to our country can come not only across borders, but from violence that gathers within. there is little cultural overlap between violent extremists a abroad and violent extremists at home. their disregard for human life and their determination to defile national symbols, they are children of the same foul spirit, and it is our continuing duty to confront them. after 9/11, millions of brave americans stepped forward and volunteered to serve in the armed forces. the military measures taken over
the last 20 years to pursue dangers at their source have led to debate. but one thing is certain, we owe an assurance to all who have fought our nation's most recent battles. let me peek directly to veterans -- speak directly to veterans and people in uniform. the cause you pursued is the noblest america has to offer. you have shielded your fellow citizens from danger. you have defended the beliefs of your country and advanced the rights of the down trod. en. you have been the -- downtrodden. you have been the face of hope and mercy in dark places. you have been a force for good in the world. nothing that has followed, nothing, can tarnish your honor or diminish your accomplishments. to you and to the honored dead, our country is forever grateful.
[applause] in the weeks and months following the 9/11 attacks, i was proud to lead an amazing, resilient, united people. when it comes to the unity of america, those days seem distanting from our own. malign force seems at work in our common life that turns every disagreement into an argument and every argument into a clash of cultures. so much of to our politics has become a naked appeal to anger, fear and resentment. that leaves us worried about our nation and our future together. i come without explanations or solutions. i can only tell you what i've seen. on america's day of trial and grief, i saw millions of people instinctively grab for a neighbor's hand and rally to the cause of one another.
that is the america i know. [applause] at a time when religious bigotry might have flowed freely, i saw americans reject prejudice. that is the nation i know. [applause] at a time when nativism could have stirred hatred and violence against people perceived as outsiders, i saw americans reaffirm their welcome to immigrants and refugees. that is the nation i know. [applause] at a time when some viewed the rising generation as individualistic and decadent, i saw young people embrace an ethic of service and rise to selfless action. that is the nation i know.
[applause] this is not mere nostalgia. it is the truest version of ourselves. it is what we have been and what we can be again. twenty years ago terrorists chose a random group of americans on a routine flight to be collateral damage in a spectacular act of terror. the 33 passengers and 7 crew of flight 93 could have been any group of citizens selected by fate. in a sense, they stood in for us all. the terrorists who 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 which should not surprise any of us. this is the nation we know. [applause] and whenever we need hope and inspiration, we can look to the skies and remember. god bless. [applause] dana: president george w. bush recounting for everybody what he went through that day, also talking about the america he knows. and that was the point of his speech with a lot of applause as the names continue to be read here in lower manhattan. bill: the line that stuck me -- struck me, rather, dana, was rally to the aid of each other,
talking about fellow americans. and the gentleman with us now has done that times -- i'd say a million, but it's more like -- dana: infinity. [laughter] bill: and that is frank siller, tunnel to towers, who we've gotten to know very well. your youngest brother, steven siller, was off that day on a tuesday morning over there on staten island. he grabbed his equipment, ran through the tunnel, and that was the last time anyone saw him. his name is etched forever in the south tower on the western side of ground zero here today. and you, my friend, have changed the lives of thousands and thousands. thank you. >> you're welcome. and the truth of the matter is stephen inspired his older
siblings to do good. in not just his honor and memory, but those of so many that perished 20 years ago, and we're proud to do the work, for sure. i walked to that tunnel today retracing my brother's final heroic footsteps, i was thinking of the day he was born. and i remember the day my parents, when they both passed away within a year and a half, he said, frankie, why was i ever born? i said, your brothers and sisters will be there for you forever, and we'll never let you down. and one day you will do something great, and he did, and he has changed the world in a better way. if. dana: you continue, this mission is not over at 20 years. you have an ambitious plan going forward. tell us a little bit about what you -- >> well, first of all, there's always going to be a officers
and firefighters that give their lives for their community, there's always going to be a need there. we're going to have to build and pay off mortgages forever, really just forever. and i'm going to make sure we don't forget. and that is going to be the biggest next step that we build, tunnel to towers foundation -- bill: you just walked 42 days, about 14 miles a day from washington, d.c. and shanksville, and you end your trip today -- dana: not the end, he's going to be on "the five" with greg, jesse -- bill: how much weight did you lose? you said, none, the firefighters fed me every night. [laughter] frank siller, and my colleague and partner, dana perino. that's going to conclude our coverage for the moment. the names continue to be read on the streets below here, and neil cavuto will take over shortly.
two decades later, america, we have reached the moments. at 11 a.m. eastern time, our coverage continues here on the fox news channel. god bless you at home and god bless america. dana: good-bye, everyone. thank you. [reading of names] >> and my brother-in-law, alfred >> from lower manhattan, the reading of the names right now, as also taking a look at developments in shankville, pennsylvania. we just heard a short time ago from president bush. five observances recognizing the key moments in what happened 20 years ago have been recognized, including for the moment, on flight