House Rose Garden
September 18, 2001
11:46 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Please be seated. Welcome. Last week, America suffered greatly.
Thousands of our citizens lost lives. Thousands were hurt. But thousands of
our citizens rose to the occasion to help.
Last week was a really horrible week for America. But out of our tears and sadness,
we saw the best of America as well. We saw a great country rise up to help.
Tens of millions of dollars and thousands of hours and tons of food and clothing
have all been donated to help rebuild shattered lives. Americans' love for America
was channeled through our nation's great charities. And as President of this
great land, nothing made me more proud.
In the week since the attack, our compassion and generous citizens have led
the first phase in the war on terrorism. They have sustained and strengthened
the home front. Today, I'm joined by representatives of charities which have
brought relief to citizens in New York City and Virginia, Pennsylvania. We've
got representatives of firefighters, police officers, entrepreneurs who have
helped out all across America.
We've got many good citizens here who represent the large national charities
like the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and the United Way. We've got
folks here in the nation's Rose Garden who represent the community-based programs
and faith-based programs, firefighter and police associations, local businesses,
nonprofits. Large and small, these important charitable efforts are saving lives
and, as importantly, are restoring hope.
I'm also joined by Libby Pataki, the better half of the Governor of New York.
(Applause.) Tony Carbonetti, the Chief of Staff to Rudy Giuliani -- (applause)
-- and my friends and former fellow Governors -- actually, they're Governors,
I was a former governor -- Jim Gilmore and Tom Ridge. (Applause.) These Governors
and their wives and the Mayor of New York have shown impressive leadership --
impressive leadership -- in the face of the challenges that faced their cities
and their states.
They put public agencies on full alert to provide immediate assistance to victims
and their families; and for all those who helped, out nation is most grateful.
They've called on the men and women of the National Guard to help maintain calm
and order. And we thank those who wear the uniform as well. And they've led
and supported valiant rescue workers in New York City and northern Virginia,
whose bravery is seared into our national consciousness.
I was honored to be able to stand amidst the rescue workers and looked in their
eyes and saw the determination that would make all Americans proud. In spite
of their exhaustion, in spite of the fact that they had worked themselves into
a state of total fatigue, they still wanted to keep fighting on for their fellow
brothers and sisters trapped in the rubble.
Mayor Giuliani, and Pataki, have led New York City through its most difficult
of all days, and they have done so with class and bravery and distinction. And
we owe them a debt of gratitude. (Applause.) The Mayor, the Governors, all New
Yorkers, have demonstrated the very best American values to a world that has
been watching to see how our nation would react.
The world watches the great country called America, and they say: What will
they do? What will Americans do? And what they've seen is the best of America.
They've seen leadership, they've seen courage, and as importantly, they've seen
Last evening marked the start of Rosh Hashana. In Jewish teaching, this holy
day is the anniversary of the creation of the world. It is a season of renewal
and of hope, and people of every faith, all across America, embraced that spirit
of renewal and hope.
Funds in New York and Washington are providing food, clothing and financial
help to husbands and wives and sons and daughters who suffer mightily. Citizens
near Ground Zero in New York have provided sandwiches, drinks and clean clothes
to the tired and hungry rescue workers.
And in one of America's greatest traditions, a handful of entrepreneurs from
Springfield, Virginia collected $600 by selling lemonade, and gave it to the
These acts of generosity and kindness are spreading all across America. There
are challenges that remain for those who suffer today; make no mistake about
it. We've got a lot of work to do as a nation. And these good efforts, these
good, charitable, compassionate efforts need the full support of Americans everywhere.
People all across the country are asking how they can help. What can they do
to provide hope. What can they do to help heal the wounds by helping their fellow
Americans. Well, there are many ways to contribute. Local stores and businesses
on Main Street America are collecting money to send to appropriate relief and
help agencies. National media organizations are helping collect. Internet portals
providing an interesting opportunity for people to contribute and provide their
Many of the charities, themselves, welcome donations through web sites. So I
urge my fellow Americans to continue contributing through web sites. If you're
interested in helping, call up one of the great charities of America and contribute.
Thus far, I'm proud to report through the web sites of our charities, Americans
have donated $55 million in seven short days. Some of America's high-tech leaders,
AOL/Time Warner and Microsoft, Amazon, Ebay, Cisco Systems and Yahoo have joined
together in a private effort to encourage on-line giving so that we can funnel
resources to help our citizens in need.
They have formed what's called "The American Liberty Partnership."
It has a web site called libertyunites.org. And this will help Americans find
out how to help. If a concerned American wants to help a neighbor in need, even
though the neighborhood might not be right next to each other, they can get
on libertyunites.org, and find out how to help. And I urge my fellow Americans
to do so.
Americans can not only make on-line donations, they can figure out where to
send food, where to donate blood, where to give clothes. They can find out how
best to donate their time.
Now, it's important to realize that at this moment, many of our charities are
overwhelmed by the public response. That's the kind of problem we like in America.
But because the portals may be jammed, because the phones may be busy, is not
an excuse for Americans not to continue to fight to help their neighbors.
And so, I ask my fellow Americans to be patient with those charities that want
their help, to keep trying to give, to not lose sight of the mission. And that
is, we'll fight terrorism on all fronts. We will not be terrorized so that their
hearts are hardened.
Nobody can threaten this country. Oh, they may be able to bomb buildings and
obviously disrupt lives. But we're too great a nation to allow the evil-doers
to affect our soul and our spirit.
Today, I herald the soul and spirit of America with live examples of people
who have made a huge difference, and those who suffer and those who hurt. This
is a great land. It's a great land, because our people are so decent and strong