On Tuesday, September 11th, 2001, the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history occurred as four large passenger jets were hijacked then crashed, killing nearly 3,000 persons. The attack was carried out by four separate teams of terrorists from the Middle East, all operating from inside the U.S. Each team had boarded an early-morning flight, posing as passengers, then forcibly commandeered the aircraft. Two fully-fueled jumbo jets, American Airlines Flight 11 carrying 92 persons and United Airlines Flight 175 carrying 65 persons, had departed Boston for Los Angeles. Both jets were diverted by the hijackers to New York City where they were piloted by the terrorists themselves into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. The impact and subsequent fire caused both 110-story towers to collapse, killing 2,752 persons, including hundreds of fire-rescue workers and persons employed in the towers.United Airlines Flight 93, which had departed from Newark for San Francisco, and American Airlines Flight 77, which had departed from Dulles (Virginia) for Los Angeles, were also hijacked. Flight 77, with 64 persons on board, was diverted to Washington, D.C., then piloted by the terrorists into the Pentagon building, killing everyone on board and 125 military personnel inside the building. Flight 93, with 44 persons on board, was also diverted toward Washington but crashed into a field in Pennsylvania after passengers attempted to overpower the terrorists on board.On Thursday, September 20th, President George W. Bush gave this much-anticipated speech before a Joint Session of Congress, outlining America's reaction to the unprecedented attack against its people.
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Mr. Speaker, Mr. President Pro Tempore, members of Congress, and fellow Americans: In the normal course of events, presidents come to this chamber to report on the state of the Union. Tonight, no such report is needed. It has already been delivered by the American people. We have seen it in the courage of passengers who rushed terrorists to save others on the ground. Passengers like an exceptional man named Todd Beamer. And would you please help me welcome his wife Lisa Beamer here tonight? We have seen the state of our Union in the endurance of rescuers working past exhaustion. We've seen the unfurling of flags, the lighting of candles, the giving of blood, the saying of prayers in English, Hebrew and Arabic. We have seen the decency of a loving and giving people who have made the grief of strangers their own. My fellow citizens, for the last nine days, the entire world has seen for itself the state of our Union, and it is strong. Tonight, we are a country awakened to danger and called to defend freedom. Our grief has turned to anger and anger to resolution. Whether we bring our enemies to justice or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done. I thank the Congress for its leadership at such an important time. All of America was touched on the evening of the tragedy to see Republicans and Democrats joined together on the steps of this Capitol singing "God Bless America." And you did more than sing. You acted, by delivering $40 billion to rebuild our communities and meet the needs of our military. Speaker Hastert, Minority Leader Gephardt, Majority Leader Daschle and Senator Lott, I thank you for your friendship, for your leadership and for your service to our country. And on behalf of the American people, I thank the world for its outpouring of support. America will never forget the sounds of our national anthem playing at Buckingham Palace, on the streets of Paris and at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate. We will not forget South Korean children gathering to pray outside our embassy in Seoul, or the prayers of sympathy offered at a mosque in Cairo. We will not forget moments of silence and days of mourning in Australia and Africa and Latin America. Nor will we forget the citizens of 80 other nations who died with our own. Dozens of...
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