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Bush in Shanksville calls for return to unity demonstrated on 9/11 in America

The former president said Americans owe a "vast unconscious debt" to the passengers and crew of Flight 93.

Updated: September 11, 2021 - 2:47pm

​​SHANKSVILLE, Pa. – Former President George W. Bush on Saturday called for a return to the unity displayed on September 11, 2001 in America.

Speaking at the Flight 93 memorial, in Shanksville, Pa., on the 20th anniversary of the attacks, Bush said Americans owe a "vast unconscious debt" to the passengers and crew on the flight.

"Bravery is more common than we imagined," said Bush, who was president at the time of the attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people. 

Bush noted that dangers to our country can come not only "across borders" but from within.

He also said millions of Americans signed up to serve in the military after Sept. 11.

Terrorists on the morning of the attacks hijacked four commercial jetliners — slamming two into the World Trade Center's Twin Towers and one into the Pentagon. Passengers downed the fourth plane — Flight 93 — in a field in Shanksville, keeping the craft from striking a building in Washington, D.C. 

Bush's message Saturday for veterans and active-duty service members was that the cause they pursued is the "noblest, adding that they have been a "force for good in the world."

"Our country is forever grateful," he said.

Bush also said so much of today's politics is filled with "anger, fear and resentment." He said Americans didn't resort to "nativism" after the 9/11 attacks.

"That’s the America I know," he said.

Bush added that the "unity" displayed on 9/11 is the America he knows and the U.S. can "be that America again."