President Bush arrived on the southern tip of Manhattan on Friday afternoon to see for himself the almost unimaginable devastation meted out upon New York’s financial district, when two 767 jetliners slammed into the World Trade Center’s landmark twin towers during Tuesday’s morning rush.
There, he was greeted by a raucous crowd of construction workers and rescue personnel, all of whom seemed recharged by the president’s visit after more than three days of backbreaking work, removing chunks of concrete and mangled steel, and looking for survivors.
Grabbing a bullhorn, Bush told the chanting, cheering crowd, “I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked down these buildings will hear all of us soon.”
“The nation sends its love and compassion to everybody who’s here. Thank you for your hard work. Thank you for making the nation proud, and may God bless America,” Bush added, raising his arm.
The workers responded with an resounding, energetic chant of “USA, USA!”
As we enter eight years of utterly failed presidential leadership, it is good to take a moment to remind ourselves what difference leadership, character, and personal presence makes.