President Bush has marked the fifth anniversary of the September 11th 2001, terrorist attacks with a pilgrimage to the three sites where Americans died, and a broadcast address to the nation. The president is calling for national unity in the face of a continuing terrorist threat.
It was a day filled with strong images and equally strong emotions. As it came to a close, the president addressed the American people, filling the dual roles of consoler-in-chief, and leader of a nation at war.
"On this day, we remember the innocents who lost their lives, and we pay tribute to those who gave their lives so that others might live."
Mr. Bush spoke of the anguish he saw in the faces of their families, and the impact their loss has had on the American people.
Out of this suffering, we resolve to honor every man and woman lost. And we seek their lasting memorial in a safer and more hopeful world.
"He said the war against terrorism is more than just a military conflict. He said it is the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century, and the calling of a generation."
America did not ask for this war, and every American wishes it were over. So do I. But the war is not over - and it will not be over until either we or the extremists emerge victorious.
America stood as one in the days following September 11th, as the nation moved to a war footing. But discontent with the situation in Iraq has created tensions, with the acrimony very much on display in the current campaign for seats in the U.S. Congress.
The president did not refer to his critics in his address. Instead, he invoked memories of the September 11th attacks in an effort to remind the American people that the stakes in Iraq - and the greater Middle East - are very high.
"Our nation has endured trials - and we face a difficult road ahead. Winning this war will require the determined efforts of a unified country. So we must put aside our differences, and work together to meet the task history has given us."
Mr. Bush said victory in Iraq is crucial. He said al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden has called the fight for Iraq the "Third World War." The president pledged never to yield Iraq to terrorists like bin Laden. And at a time when his administration's commitment to the search for the al-Qaida founder is coming under question, he stressed his determination to catch bin Laden.
"Osama bin Laden and other terrorists are still in hiding. Our message to them is clear: No matter how long it takes, America will find you and bring you to justice."
President Bush said for the United States, the September 11th attacks were more than a tragedy. He said they changed the way Americans look at the world. He said on that fateful day, the nation saw the face of evil. He said America has defeated evil before, and it will do so again.