What might have been: September 14, 2001.
My fellow Americans:
O God, how did we get here?
Where have all of our friends gone? Where is our family? When will we see them again?
Our friends, our loved ones – they are dead! They are dead – pulverized to dust. They’re in the air we are breathing right now. Fire and pressure left dust, dust that surrounds us, that falls on us like snow on a winter graveside service. To see the day when families are lucky to even a piece of their loved ones back…it’s too much to bear.
My fellow Americans, my brothers and sisters, our friends are gone. We will not see them again in this life. This crater behind us is the doorway to Hell, to the emptiness that remains when dear ones are gone. They are gone. What will we do without them?
I know you are so lost, so sad, like me. I know you are angry. I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you, and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.
But – what will they hear?
What do you want me to do for you, as your President? Do you want me to go get the evil bastards that did this to us, to you and me and our lost loves? Do you want payback?
I’m sorry. You’re not going to get it.
(a chorus of boos, someone throws something, but misses)
You’re not going to get payback, and I’ll tell you why.
Tomorrow, I could order the sum of our military might into the Middle East. We could cover those countries in fire until every last person that ever looked at a person who planned this was as dead as our friends. We could blow them (and those that survive) right to Hell, but then all of us would be in Hell. You and me, we’re already there. Our pain and loss and anger is already full-grown. And let me tell you something about that pain: no amount of bombs or dead Afghans are going to make it go away. There’s not going to be closure. You are going to look at this place every year on this day and you’ll be right back here, right back in Hell. I can light half the world on fire, but I can’t bring them back.
Nothing can bring them back. They are gone. They are ashes. Dust to dust.
My friends, we made a lot of noise during the election. We said a lot of things. We said we were a Christian nation.
September 14, 2001. What might have been.