Famous speeches of 9-11
This is a newsletter I wrote a few years ago, updated slightly. My thoughts with American readers today. Twenty two years.
Twenty two years since the trauma of September 11th, 2001. One of the most vivid nights of my life (Australian time zones). I was watching the excellent Melbourne singer songwriter Anthony Atkinson play at the Empress Hotel in North Fitzroy, there were TVs on in the front bar between sets, and when the second plane hit, there was that flooding realisation that the millennium we'd just celebrated the arrival of would be immediately cloaked in terror, war, retaliation and fear.
There are many notable and great speeches from the time and immediately after. One I've posted a few times in the newsletter is Michael Duffy's eulogy to Father Mychal Judge, who was chaplin to the New York fire department, and the first certified casualty of the 9-11 attacks .He was dubbed 'The Saint of 9-11'. The photo of him being carried through the streets by Shannon Stapleton of Reuters is one of the great news photographs.
I do think Jon Stewart's address to Congress on behalf of 9-11 first responders suffering long term medical issues is one of the great speeches of the century so far. But he was also brilliant in the immediate aftermath, his speech drawing on early memories of the assassination of MLK is unforgettable, delivered on The Daily Show on its first night back on air after the attacks. The Letterman return speech is also outstanding.
George W Bush has his bullhorn speech, delivered on the smoking ruins of Ground Zero, and his speech to the joint session of Congress speech. "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." We knew war was coming.
I think one of the great speeches of this era belongs to Barbara Lee, who amidst a bipartisan enthusiasm to sign away all powers to the President to declare any war to prevent terrorism in perpetuity, stood up for some limit on power. “Let’s just pause, just for a minute, and think through the implications of our actions today, so that this does not spiral out of control,” she said to Congress, days after the attacks.
In the first Oscars ceremony after 9-11, Woody Allen delivered a love letter to New York in the movies, which is really something.
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Father Mychal Judge was chaplin to the New York fire department, and the first certified casualty of the 9-11 attacks .He was dubbed 'The Saint of 9-11'. The incredible photo is by Shannon Stapleton, Reuters.
"At 4:30, I received a call from Father Ron Pecci. We were serving the meal to the homeless. And he said, “It’s happened.” I said, “What?” And he said, “Mychal Judge is dead.”
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