The Necessity to Speak

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The Necessity to Speak

On September 11th 2001 America was attacked. Two planes taken over by terrorists crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center and one plane crashed into the Pentagon. For many it was disbelief, something out of a movie, but as the fateful day progressed reality struck hard. Thousands of people were lost in the rubble and hundreds more died trying to save them. For America it was a day of mourning, an event no one will ever forget. America's immunity to attack was broken and paranoia ran high. Millions of Americans focused on one man to set it right, the President of the United States. On September 20th President George W. Bush addressed the nation. It was a speech written by many people, composed of words carefully selected to not offend the innocent and to demand punishment for the guilty. In Sam Hamill's essay, "The Necessity to Speak", Hamill believes we must acknowledge the violence both done to us and to other people, to bear witness to good and to evil, and to call things by their proper name. This idea mocks the blank neutrality of Bush's speech where the wrongs done to us are the only wrongs worth mentioning and we are blind to the events around us.

Hamill believes that "writing is a form of human communication expressing ideas regarding the human condition." (457) In the week following the attacks President Bush made it clear that he is also guilty of that human condition. In his speeches and writings that ensued he rallied the country a little too much. (Max para. 1) His language was undisciplined and seemed to be inappropriate for the civility that our country has always shown. "He called the terrorists 'folks' and referred to the coming battle as a 'crusade'. He called for 'reven...

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Max, D.T. "The 2,988 Words That Changed a Presidency: An Etymology." The New York Times. 7 Oct. 2001.

O'Brien, Time. "How To Tell A True War Story". Writing As Re-Vision: A Student's Anthology. Mass: Simon & Schuster, 1998.

Scheer, Robert. "Bush's Faustian Deal With The Taliban". Los Angeles Times. 22 May 2001.

Solomon, Norman. "The 'Wimp' Factor: Goading to Shed Blood". 28 Sept. 2001. 16 Oct. 2001. <>.

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