Daniel Doherty

On Saturday, former President George W. Bush gave a heartrending speech in Shanksville, Pennsylvania to commemorate the men and women killed on Flight 93 ten years ago today.

Although September 11, 2001 began like any other morning, by the end of the day, nearly 3,000 Americans were killed -- the most lives lost on American soil since the Civil War battle of Antietam.

President Bush recaptured, in stunning detail, the bravery of New York City fire fighters and policemen who rushed into burning buildings to save lives, many of whom never made it out.

He went on to eloquently recapture the significance of the sacrifice of the passengers aboard Flight 93, and what their heroism means to the nation.

“At the moment America’s democracy was under attack,” he said, “our citizens defied their captives by holding a vote. The choice they made would cost them their lives – and they knew it. Many passengers called their loved ones to say goodbye, then hung up to perform their final act.”

Bush called their decision to rush the cockpit “the first counter offensive on the War on Terror”. Many more innocent lives, he argued, would have been lost if it wasn’t for their selflessness and patriotism.

While these extraordinary citizens left behind families, loved one, and promising careers, Bush continued, their legacy will be studied and remembered for generations to come.

--

Former President Bill Clinton echoed the remarks made by Bush, and emphasized the unique and exemplary actions taken by the civilian men and women aboard Flight 93 as comparable to soldiers fighting in battle. He remarked, “…they saved the capital from attack. They saved God knows how many lives. They saved the terrorists from claiming the symbolic victory of smashing the center of American government. And they did it as citizens.”

The greatness of America is that ordinary people, not just those in the armed forces, will defend and die for her. Their sacrifices will never be forgotten.

Courtesy of Mediaite, both videos are embedded below:


Daniel Doherty

Daniel Doherty is Townhall's Deputy News Editor. Follow him on Twitter @danpdoherty.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography