The 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:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 7 language habits that reveal your age
- I hate Ayn Rand — but here's why my fellow conservatives love her
- The 11 worst fast food restaurants in America
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- 7 things the world's happiest people do every day
- The biggest lesson Obama failed to learn from Bush
- Britain has basically decriminalized internet piracy. The U.S. should, too.
- The weird obsession that's ruining the GOP
- Why Peter Capaldi has a bigger challenge than any Doctor Who in history
Subscribe to the Week