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Christopher Hutson

Composition 2

As the nations emotions were running high during the merciless attack onto the
American citizens, President George W. Bush addressed the nation soon afterwards and gave a
speech over the horrible events that have taken place on September 11, 2001. Throughout the
country, many citizens were afraid of what may happen next and in fear for the lives of
themselves and loved ones. Though there were many unanswered questions like Who was the
cause of all this destruction?, Are there other countries being targeted? and Are our lives still
in danger of another attack? is what lead President Bush to calm the minds of everyone and give
them a sense of comfort that everything will get better. In the speech Bush gave, it provided a lot
of rhetorical concepts in which to reach the audience. Through his sympathetic and authoritative
tone that he uses in his speech, he relates to the appeals of logos, pathos, and ethos to deliver a
more effective speech.
At 8:46 on the morning of September 11, 2001, the United States became a nation
transformed. An airliner traveling at hundreds of miles per hour and carrying some 10,000
gallons of jet fuel plowed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan.
At 9:03, a second airliner hit the South Tower. Fire and smoke billowed upward. Steel, glass, ash,
and bodies fell below. The Twin Towers, where up to 50,000 people worked each day, both
collapsed less than 90 minutes later. At 9:37 that same morning, a third airliner slammed into the
western face of the Pentagon. At 10:03, a fourth airliner crashed in a field in southern
Pennsylvania. It had been aimed at the United States Capitol or the White House, and was forced
down by heroic passengers armed with the knowledge that America was under attack. More than
2,600 people died at the World Trade Center; 125 died at the Pentagon; 256 died on the four
planes. The death toll surpassed that at Pearl Harbor in December 1941. This immeasurable pain
was inflicted by 19 young Arabs acting at the behest of Islamist extremists headquartered in

Christopher Hutson
Composition 2

distant Afghanistan. Some had been in the United States for more than a year, mixing with the
rest of the population. Though four had training as pilots, most were not well-educated. Most
spoke English poorly, some hardly at all. In groups of four or five, carrying with them only small
knives, box cutters, and cans of Mace or pepper spray, they had hijacked the four planes and
turned them into deadly guided missiles. Who is this enemy that created an organization capable
of inflicting such horrific damage on the United States? We now know that these attacks were
carried out by various groups of Islamist extremists. The 9/11 attack was driven by Usama Bin
Ladin. America was targeted because of the freedom and opportunity it possesses for
individuals. With the help of many and the condolences received from countless countries,
American began the healing process.
In the beginning of the speech, Bush immediately appeals to the audience by using the
rhetorical appeal pathos, which helps gain the admiration of the audience by using emotion to
pull them in. By referring to the very lives and freedom that they possess was at stake, it made
them realize that this very nation will not fall so easily at the hands of terrorist. For example,
George W. Bush says, These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into
chaos and retreat. But they have failed. Our country is strong (paragraph 1). He also goes on
about the destruction that was caused that killed many and how huge structures collapsing have
filled us with disbelief, terrible sadness, and a quiet, unyielding anger (paragraph 1). Through
this statement, the audience realizes that this event has devastated many people and that the
undying anger that was building up in each person was natural, but it wouldnt help in anyway
during the situation. Overall, Bush uses the rhetorical appeal pathos effectively and therefore
gives the audience a sense of what this event has made them feel, but also helps them realize that
the nation will remain strong even in their darkest days.

Christopher Hutson
Composition 2

Besides pathos, Bush also uses the rhetorical appeal ethos, which establishes the authors
own authority and the authority of others to support the argument. In the speech Bush gave to the
citizens, he addresses how he is handling the situation when it came aiding the injured and
securing the safety of the citizens. He said, I implemented our governments emergency
response plans (paragraph 3). This shows that the government is prepared for whatever is
thrown at the nation. Also, Bush said, I have directed the full resources of our intelligence and
law enforcement communities to find those responsible and to bring them to justice (paragraph
4). Making sure that the audience knows that something is being done about the situation would
put some ease to their mind and by saying this to them shows the type of authority Bush
possesses when it comes to handling things like this. Towards the end of the speech, the
president shows his gratitude towards those involves in the cause by saying I appreciate so very
much the members of congress who have joined me in strongly condemning these attacks and
I thank the many world leaders who have called to offer their condolences and assistance. For
all of the people that experienced pain or loss in the terrorist attack, Bush said to them:
Tonight, I ask for your prayers for all those who grieve, for the children whose worlds
have been shattered, for all whose sense of safety and security has been threatened. And I
pray they will be comforted by a Power greater than any of us, spoken through the ages in
Psalm 23: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil
for you are with me (paragraph 6).
The use of the bible verse established a source of credibility and by saying all of this to the
citizens, he shows that he cares about them while also giving a sense of authority.

Christopher Hutson
Composition 2

In conclusion, George W. Bushs purpose was to inform the nation about the occurring
event that has frightened them. The main rhetorical strategies he used in his speech were ethos
and pathos to appeal to the audience. This event has caused mass hysteria across the nation, but
America still stayed intact. With everyone helping one another and the support of other nations,
America became even stronger by not letting this event ruin them. Freedom will continue to
prevail and the nation will continue to fight for that.

Christopher Hutson
Composition 2

Works Cited

National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States." National

Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. N.p., 21 Aug. 2004. Web. 01
Feb. 2016. <>.