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Bill Clinton's 'perfect' United 93 memorial speech
The former president honors the downed flight's heroes for making the ultimate sacrifice so others would survive
The brave passengers on Flight 93 "gave the entire country an incalculable gift," says Bill Clinton during this weekend's memorial, "and they did it as citizens."
The brave passengers on Flight 93 "gave the entire country an incalculable gift," says Bill Clinton during this weekend's memorial, "and they did it as citizens."
REUTERS/Jason Cohn
T

he video: Former President Bill Clinton delivered a moving speech this weekend at the unfinished memorial to the people who died on United Flight 93 when it crashed into a Pennsylvania field on Sept. 11, 2001. (Watch the speech below.) Clinton said the people on the flight stormed the cockpit to prevent the hijackers from crashing the plane into the heart of Washington, D.C., even though they knew they faced all but certain death. The former president likened the passengers and crew of Flight 93 to the Texans at the Alamo and the Spartans of ancient Greece at Thermopylae, who went into battle knowing they would die, but did it willingly to save the lives of others. The difference, Clinton said, was that the Spartans and Texans were soldiers — while the heroes of Flight 93 "just happened to be on a plane."

The reaction: Clinton's speech was "perfect in almost every way," says Max Read at Gawker. He has been out of office for 10 years, "but the guy can still bring the gravitas when he wants to." And Clinton wasn't the only one whose tribute was "worthy of the heroic actions of the Flight 93 passengers," says Marshall Ramsey at ClarionLedger.com. Vice President Joe Biden thanked Bush for bringing the nation together at a time when it could have been ripped apart, and Bush said the Flight 93 story should remind all Americans of their duty to "find common purpose." Taken together, says Katharine Q. Seelye at The New York Times, the speeches "seemed an attempt to recapture — if only briefly — the unity that prevailed in the country after the terrorist attacks 10 years ago." Watch Clinton's speech:

 

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