Daniel Doherty

Sunday morning, President Obama and former president George W. Bush spoke at Ground Zero to honor the lives lost on September 11, 2001.

The President, quoting from the Old Testament, read a passage from Psalm 46 to thousands of anguished families gathered near the 9/11 memorial. The psalm, which sheds light on the power of God in times of tragedy, was well received by the public. Courtesy of Mediaite, the text has been transcribed:

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Therefore, we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.

Though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling, there’s a river whose streams shall make glad the City of God, the holy place of the Tabernacle of the Most High. She shall not be moved.

God shall help her just at the break of dawn.

The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved.

He uttered his voice.

The earth melted.

The Lord of Hosts is with us.

The God of Jacob is our refuge.

Come behold the works of the Lord who has made desolations in the Earth.

He makes wars cease to the ends of the Earth.

He breaks the bough and cuts the spear in two.

He burns the chariot in fire.

Be still and know that I am God.

I will be exalted among the nations.

I will be exalted in the Earths.

The Lord of Hosts is with us.

The God of Jacob is our refuge.

Former President George W. Bush, who aptly referenced the Gettysburg Address Saturday during his remarks at the Flight 93 crash site in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, spoke after the President and read Abraham Lincoln’s famous letter to Mrs. Bixby. For those unfamiliar with the Bixby family, towards the end of the Civil War -- after years of unremitting bloodshed -- Lincoln received a dispatch from Massachusetts Governor John A. Andrew informing him that one of his constituents, Lydia Bixby, was now the mother of five brave soliders who perished in the war. While scholars later affirmed this was historically inaccurate, and not all of her sons died, President Bush used the letter -- which Lincoln wrote in 1864 -- to poignantly capture the feelings and sentiments of the American people today:

Dear Madam,--

I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle.

I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save.

I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,

A. Lincoln

Fox News reports:


Daniel Doherty

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

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography