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Never Forget: Bush and the Bullhorn

The day a leader found his voice

It was exactly 13 years ago today that radical Islamists from al Qaeda murdered 3,000 Americans. Just about everyone has a vivid memory from that terrible day, even those who didn’t directly lose loved ones in the coordinated attacks on the World Trade Center or the Pentagon.

The best way we can honor the memories of those lost in the attacks is to stay vigilant so that history does not repeat itself, and most importantly, to NEVER FORGET.

Perhaps the most iconic image of September 11th, 2001 was President George W. Bush, standing atop the rubble in New York. It was the defining moment of his presidency, yet he had only been holding the office for 8 months.

I can hear you!” he shouted through a bullhorn. “The rest of the world hears you! And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.”

The crowd exploded in cheers, chanting “USA! USA!”

This was the kind of leadership America needed. We needed it then, as we need it now. As a people, we were scared. Let’s remember that we had no idea what was to come next. For all we knew, the White House itself was about to be bombed. We needed comfort, and George W. Bush, in just two magical minutes, was able to provide it. It was all there: gratitude for the hard work of the first responders, anger directed at the perpetrators of this horrible crime against humanity, and a determination to somehow make things a little more “right” in the world.

Part of “never forget” means not only remembering the fear and terror that we all felt on that day, but also remembering the good that came out of it. Let’s remember how united we all were, and let’s remember how a president who was considered extremely polarizing by his opposition managed to bring us all together and feel his resolve to DO SOMETHING in response to the horrific attacks that had left so many of us shaking and confused.

Considering the threat we now face from ISIS and beyond, there’s never been a more appropriate time to harken back and consider what it means to be a leader, both in America and in the world as a whole.

President Obama told NBC’s Chuck Todd on Sunday that the “political theater” aspect of the presidency is “not something that always comes naturally to me.” But the truth is, when the message comes from the heart and is delivered with true passion and empathy, there’s actually nothing theatrical about it at all. Bush and his bullhorn ultimately represented so much more than a photo-op. It was leadership.

 


Matt Fox

Senior Editor

Fox has history in broadcasting that spans two decades. From his early days as an FM host and club DJ in the mid-90′s to his later experiences in political talk radio, he has always had a knack for combining topical news with his love for popular culture. Those experiences culminated in his position as executive producer for several radio shows featured in the TALKERS Heavy 100. Originally from New York, Fox has made the great pilgrimage down to sunny south Florida.

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