| Home > 107th Congressional Documents > H.Doc.107-160 PERIODIC REPORT ON THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY ...
H.Doc.107-160 PERIODIC REPORT ON THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY ...
workers credits to help buy health coverage . . . to approve an historic increase in spending for veterans' health . . . and to give seniors a sound and modern Medicare system that includes coverage for prescription drugs. A good job should lead to security in retirement. I ask Congress to enact new safeguards for 401(k) and pension plans, because employees who have worked hard and saved all their lives should not have to risk losing everything if their company fails. Through stricter accounting standards and tougher disclosure requirements, corporate America must be made more accountable to employees and shareholders and held to the highest standards of conduct. Retirement security also depends upon keeping the commitments of Social Security--and we will. We must make Social Security financially stable and allow personal retirement accounts for younger workers who choose them. Members, you and I will work together in the months ahead on other issues: productive farm policy . . . a cleaner environment . . . broader home ownership, especially among minorities . . . and ways to encourage the good work of charities and faith-based groups. I ask you to join me on these important domestic issues in the same spirit of cooperation we have applied to our war against terrorism. During these last few months, I have been humbled and privileged to see the true character of this country in a time of testing. Our enemies believed America was weak and materialistic, that we would splinter in fear and selfishness. They were as wrong as they are evil. The American people have responded magnificently, with courage and compassion, strength and resolve. As I have met the heroes, hugged the families, and looked into the tired faces of rescuers, I have stood in awe of the American people. And I hope you will join me in expressing thanks to one American for the strength, and calm, and comfort she brings to our Nation in crisis: our First Lady, Laura Bush. None of us would ever wish the evil that was done on September 11th, yet after America was attacked, it was as if our entire country looked into a mirror, and saw our better selves. We were reminded that we are citizens, with obligations to each other, to our country, and to history. We began to think less of the goods we can accumulate, and more about the good we can do. For too long our culture has said, ``If it feels good, do it.'' Now America is embracing a new ethic and a new creed: ``Let's roll.'' In the sacrifice of soldiers, the fierce brotherhood of firefighters, and the bravery and generosity of ordinary citizens, we have glimpsed what a new culture of responsibility could look like. We want to be a Nation that serves goals larger than self. We have been offered a unique opportunity, and we must not let this moment pass. My call tonight is for every American to commit at least two years--four thousand hours over the rest of your lifetime-- to the service of your neighbors and your Nation. Many are already serving and I thank you. If you aren't sure how to help, I've got a good place to start. To sustain and extend the best that has emerged in America, I invite you to join the new USA Freedom Corps. The Freedom Corps will focus on three areas of need: responding in case of crisis at home, rebuilding our communities, and extending American compassion throughout the world. One purpose of the USA Freedom Corps will be homeland security. America needs retired doctors and nurses who can be mobilized in major emergencies . . . volunteers to help police and fire departments . . . transportation and utility workers well-trained in spotting danger. Our country also needs citizens working to rebuild our communities. We need mentors to love children, especially children whose parents are in prison, and we need more talented teachers in troubled schools. USA Freedom Corps will expand and improve the good efforts of AmeriCorps and Senior Corps to recruit more than 200,000 new volunteers. And America needs citizens to extend the compassion of our country to every part of the world. So we will renew the promise of the Peace Corps, double its volunteers over the next five years, and ask it to join a new effort to encourage development, and education, and opportunity in the Islamic world. This time of adversity offers a unique moment of opportunity--a moment we must seize to change our culture. Through the gathering momentum of millions of acts of service and decency and kindness, I know: We can overcome evil with greater good. And we have a great opportunity during this time of war to lead the world toward the values that will bring lasting peace. All fathers and mothers, in all societies, want their children to be educated and live free from poverty and violence. No people on earth yearn to be oppressed, or aspire to servitude, or eagerly await the midnight knock of the secret police. If anyone doubts this, let them look to Afghanistan, where the Islamic ``street'' greeted the fall of tyranny with song and celebration. Let the skeptics look to Islam's own rich history--with its centuries of learning, and tolerance, and progress. America will lead by defending liberty and justice because they are right and true and unchanging for all people everywhere. No nation owns these aspirations, and no nation is exempt from them. We have no intention of imposing our culture--but America will always stand firm for the non- negotiable demands of human dignity: the rule of law . . . limits on the power of the state . . . respect for women . . . private property . . . free speech . . . equal justice . . . and religious tolerance. America will take the side of brave men and women who advocate these values around the world--including the Islamic world--because we a greater objective than eliminating threats and containing resentment. We seek a just and peaceful world beyond the war on terror. In this moment of opportunity, a common danger is erasing old rivalries. America is working with Russia, China, and India in ways we never have before to achieve peace and prosperity. In every region, free markets and free trade and free societies are proving their power to lift lives. Together with friends and allies from Europe to Asia, from Africa to Latin America, we will demonstrate that the forces of terror cannot stop the momentum of freedom. The last time I spoke here, I expressed the hope that life would return to normal. In some ways, it has. In others, it never will. Those of us who have lived through these challenging times have been changed by them. We've come to know truths that we will never question: Evil is real, and it must be opposed. Beyond all differences of race or creed, we are one country, mourning together and facing danger together. Deep in the American character, there is honor, and it is stronger than cynicism. Many have discovered again that even in tragedy-- especially in tragedy--God is near. In a single instant, we realized that this will be a decisive decade in the history of liberty--that we have been called to a unique role in human events. Rarely has the world faced a choice more clear or consequential. Our enemies send other people's children on missions of suicide and murder. They embrace tyranny and death as a cause and a creed. We stand for a different choice--made long ago, on the day of our founding. We affirm it again today. We choose freedom and the dignity of every life. Steadfast in our purpose, we now press on. We have known freedom's price. We have shown freedom's power. And in this great conflict, my fellow Americans, we will see freedom's victory. Thank you, and my God bless the United States of America. George W. Bush. The White House, January 29, 2002. <all>
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