Former President George W Bush, on Saturday, gave a speech commemorating the 20th anniversary of the devastating 9/11 attacks. He contrasted the unity he saw back in those days to the division today. 

“Twenty years ago, we all found — in different ways, in different places, but all at the same moment — that our lives would be changed forever. The world was loud with carnage and sirens, and then quiet with missing voices that would never be heard again,” he said at the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

“These lives remain precious to our country, and infinitely precious to many of you. Today we remember your loss, we share your sorrow, and we honor the men and women you have loved so long and so well.”

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He said that on America’s darkest day “actions of an enemy revealed the spirit of a people.”

“We were proud of our wounded nation,” he continued. “In these memories, the passengers and crew of Flight 93 must always have an honored place. Here the intended targets became the instruments of rescue. And many who are now alive owe a vast, unconscious debt to the defiance displayed in the skies above this field.”

“And we have seen growing evidence that the dangers to our country can come not only across borders, but from violence that gathers within. There is little cultural overlap between violent extremists abroad and violent extremists at home,” Bush said, in reference to the January 6 Capitol riot.

“But in their disdain for pluralism, in their disregard for human life, in their determination to defile national symbols, they are children of the same foul spirit. And it is our continuing duty to confront them.”

20 years back, Bush was reading a book to schoolchildren in Florida when the crash happened. 

“At a time when nativism could have stirred hatred and violence against people perceived as outsiders, I saw Americans reaffirm their welcome of immigrants and refugees. That is the nation I know. At a time when some viewed the rising generation as individualistic and decadent, I saw young people embrace an ethic of service and rise to selfless action. That is the nation I know,” he said.