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George Bushs Address to the Nation

September 11, 2001 ~ George Bushs Address to the Nation

Directions: Watch the speech first, and then we will read the speech and colormark for rhetorical devices.

On Sept. 11, 2001, the United States suffered the worst terror attack on its soil in history. Four planes were hijacked by terrorists, two of which were flown into the World Trade Center towers in New York City. First responders rushed to the scene and many of them were killed when the towers unexpectedly collapsed to the ground. Another hijacked plane crashed into the Pentagon. All in all, nearly 3,000 people were killed in the attack, which launched a war in Afghanistan that continued for more than a decade. Below are President Bush’s words to the grieving nation after the attack.


Video of Speech:

George Bushs Address to the Nation

Colormarking Key:

Bold examples of Pathos– emotional appeals; using emotion-arousing words to instill feelings such as pity, fear, happiness, or love; use of words that evoke strong feelings.



Underlinethe claim of the speech. Highlight the components of the rhetors argument that relate back to the claim.


Comment on each metaphor and explain what two ideas that the speaker is connecting together.


Good evening.


Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts. The victims were in airplanes or in their offices: secretaries, business men and women, military and federal workers, moms and dads, friends and neighbors. Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror. The pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, fires burning, huge — huge structures collapsing have filled us with disbelief, terrible sadness, and a quiet, unyielding anger. These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed. Our country is strong.


1.In the first paragraph, President Bush uses pathos to appeal to his audience. How is this an effective use of pathos? Consider the emotions of the audience listening to the speech after the events of the day took place.

2.The final two sentences of the first paragraph are both extremely short and declarative. They stand out from the other lengthy, richly detailed sentences in the first paragraph. Explain the effect these short sentences have on advancing Bushs rhetoric. What conclusions can we draw from this pattern?



A great people has been moved to defend a great nation. Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shattered steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve. America was targeted for attack because we’re the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining. Today, our nation saw evil — the very worst of human nature — and we responded with the best of America. With the dar

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