Members of Congress, I feel a most urgent sense of mission about today's world. September 11 was not an isolated event, but a tragic prologue, Iraq another act, and many further struggles will be set upon this stage before it's over.
There never has been a time when the power of America was so necessary or so misunderstood, or when, except in the most general sense, a study of history provides so little instruction for our present day. .. …True, winning wars is not easier that way, but winning the peace is. And we have to win both. And you have an extraordinary record of doing so.
Who helped Japan renew, or Germany reconstruct, or Europe get back on its feet after World War II? America.
Members of Congress, if this seems a long way from the threat of terror and weapons of mass destruction, it is only to say again that the world security cannot be protected without the world's heart being one. So America must listen as well as lead. But, members of Congress, don't ever apologize for your values. Tell the world why you're proud of America. Tell them when the Star-Spangled Banner starts, Americans get to their feet, Hispanics, Irish, Italians, Central Europeans, East Europeans, Jews, Muslims, white, Asian, black, those who go back to the early settlers and those whose English is the same as some New York cab driver's I've dealt with ... but whose sons and daughters could run for this Congress. Tell them why Americans, one and all, stand upright and respectful. Not because some state official told them to, but because whatever race, color, class or creed they are, being American means being free. That's why they're proud.
As Britain knows, all predominant power seems for a time invincible, but, in fact, it is transient. The question is: What do you leave behind? And what you can bequeath to this anxious world is the light of liberty. That is what this struggle against terrorist groups or states is about. We're not fighting for domination. We're not fighting for an American world, though we want a world in which America is at ease. We're not fighting for Christianity, but against religious fanaticism of all kinds. And this is not a war of civilizations, because each civilization has a unique capacity to enrich the stock of human heritage. We are fighting for the inalienable right of humankind--black or white, Christian or not, left, right or a million different--to be free, free to raise a family in love and hope, free to earn a living and be rewarded by your efforts, free not to bend your knee to any man in fear, free to be you so long as being you does not impair the freedom of others. That's what we're fighting for. And it's a battle worth fighting.
And I know it's hard on America, and in some small corner of this vast country, out in Nevada or Idaho or these places I've never been to, but always wanted to go... I know out there there's a guy getting on with his life, perfectly happily, minding his own business, saying to you, the political leaders of this country, “Why me? And why us? And why America?” And the only answer is, “Because destiny put you in this place in history, in this moment in time, and the task is yours to do.” And our job, my nation that watched you grow, that you fought alongside and now fights alongside you, that takes enormous pride in our alliance and great affection in our common bond, our job is to be there with you.
You are not going to be alone. We will be with you in this fight for liberty. We will be with you in this fight for liberty. And if our spirit is right and our courage firm, the world will be with us. Thank you.