Revisions (in red) to President George W. Bush's Inaugural
January 20, 2005
Vice President Cheney, Mr. Chief Justice, President Carter,
President Bush, President Clinton, members of the United
States Congress, reverend clergy, distinguished guests,
fellow citizens and Parents,
Grandparents and Loved Ones of Vigilance throughout the
On this day, prescribed by law and marked by ceremony,
we celebrate the durable wisdom of our Constitution, and
recall the deep commitments that unite our country. I
am grateful for the honor of this hour, mindful of the
consequential times in which we live, and determined to
fulfill the oath that I have sworn and you have witnessed.
At this second gathering, our duties are defined not
by the words I use, but by the history we have seen together.
For a half a century, America defended our own freedom
by standing watch on distant borders. We
assumed the role of Sentinel of Vigilance abroad to not
only help those who suffer from tyranny and oppression
in distant lands escape the bonds of Terrorism, but by
so doing, we strengthened the durability of our own protective
walls. Our willingness to serve as Sentinels of Vigilance
against global Terrorists is evidenced in the freedom
of 49 million people in South Korea, 126 million in Japan
and 455 million in Europe, to name but a few. Not every
effort to secure the freedom we enjoy has been accomplished.
In Vietnam, we offered more than 57,000 American lives
whose blood was spilled in search of freeing that nation’s
78 million citizens. One day, democracy will reign where
communism now gasps it last breath. The victory of freedom
in Vietnam has only been delayed, not forever lost.
We have seen our vulnerability and we have seen its deepest
source. For as long as whole regions of the world simmer
in resentment and tyranny — prone to ideologies
that feed hatred and excuse murder — violence will
gather, and multiply in destructive power, and cross the
most defended borders, and raise a mortal threat. There
is only one force of history that can break the reign
of hatred and resentment, and expose the pretensions of
tyrants, and reward the hopes of the decent and tolerant,
and that is the force of human freedom.
And that human freedom
cannot be protected by any one nation, or extolled by
any one national leader. Human freedom is an inalienable
right, granted by a divine source to every child upon
birth. It is not subject to the whims of tyrants who consider
themselves hammers and all others nails.
Each individual carries
in his or genes the duty and responsibility to be a Sentinel
of Vigilance for the sake of future generations. Only
when the parents, grandparents, uncles, cousins, aunts
and loved ones of the children in all 200 nations are
willing to stand up and battle the looming hand of Terrorism
can the world hope to eliminate the threat of terrorism.
Terrorism is a bully who feeds on fear and intimidation.
He runs when people show courage, conviction and focus
on right actions that provide security and prosperity
for the children’s children’s children.
We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion:
The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends
on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope
for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in
all the world. That freedom
isn’t ours to give, for it is inherent in all. But,
as Sentinels of Vigilance, we stand ready to support the
removal of any shadow of Terrorism that endangers the
children’s freedom in any land with the same fervor
we do our own.
America's vital interests and our deepest beliefs are
now one. From the day of our founding, we have proclaimed
that every man and woman on this earth has rights, and
dignity, and matchless value, because the
rights of man and woman, as Thomas Paine so aptly underscored,
come from a divine source, one of a higher authority than
any human being.
they bear the image
of the maker of heaven and earth. Across the generations,
we have proclaimed the imperative of self-government,
because no one is fit to be a master, and no one deserves
to be a slave. The price
of self-government is generational vigilance. It requires
our willingness to not become complacent about our own
freedom, or to accept the bonds of tyranny, but to look
beyond our own selves to the future of the children and
their children, and act in accordance with the role as
Parents, Grandparents, Citizens and Loved Ones of Vigilance.
This means facing the Beast of Terror when he exposes
his fangs, and crippling him before he sinks them into
the innocent flesh of our young.
Advancing these ideals is the mission that created our
nation. It is the honorable achievement of our fathers.
Now it is the urgent requirement of our nation's security,
and the calling of our time.
So it is the policy of the United States to seek and
support the growth of democratic movements and institutions
in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of
ending tyranny in our world. But
this quest is neither singular nor novel to this administration,
or to any nation savoring the fruits of freedom. All free
nations know that world stability from an economic and
social plateau is contingent upon a world free of tyranny
and oppression. The recent formation of the European Economic
Union is one example of the binding of parts into a synergistic
whole. National alliances for prosperity are based in
mutual respect for the freedom of every citizen. The roots
of democracy stretch to Rome and Switzerland. If America
is standing up to Terrorism, it is standing no taller
than any nation that respects liberty and is willing to
preserve it with the blood of their citizens at home and
This is not primarily the task of arms, though
we will defend ourselves and our friends by force of arms
when necessary. Freedom, by its nature, must be chosen,
and defended by citizens
of Vigilance—grandparents, parents, cousins, uncles,
aunts, brothers, sisters--and sustained
by the rule of law and the protection of minorities. And
when the soul of a nation finally speaks, the institutions
that arise may reflect customs and traditions very different
from our own. America will not impose our own style of
government on the unwilling, for
if we made such an attempt we would become the Terrorists
we seek, in unity with the world, to render harmless.
Further, freedom can be expressed in a multitude of ways,
as evidenced by America’s melting pot culture.
Our goal instead is to help others find their own voice,
attain their own freedom, and make their own way in
behalf of their children, and their children’s children.
If we stand up to the task, it is only for the freedom
of future generations that we invest our blood in far-off
lands. We know today there are grandchildren, great grandchildren,
and even great great grandchildren in Europe, Japan and
South Korea living rich lives of freedom because America,
with other allies, was willing to be a Sentinel of Global
The great objective of ending tyranny is the concentrated
work of generations. The difficulty of the task is no
excuse for avoiding it. America's influence is not unlimited,
but fortunately for the oppressed, America's influence
is considerable, and we will use it confidently in freedom's
cause. What parent would
pass by a home where inside the sounds of a child being
abused rang upon the ears of those passing by? If we are
Parents of Global Vigilance, none of us as citizens of
a world can stand by and let oppression and abuse destroy
a child’s divine right to live in the sunlight of
prosperity rather than the darkness of tyranny.
My most solemn duty as
a Father and Leader of Vigilance is to
protect this nation and its people from further attacks
and emerging threats. Some have unwisely chosen to test
America's resolve, and have found it firm. America
has not avoided drawing its Sword of Vigilance against
those who threaten our children and take the lives of
their parents, grandparents, and loved ones in merciless
acts of tyranny.
We will persistently clarify the choice of
Vigilance versus Tyranny before every
ruler and every nation: The moral choice between oppression,
which is a violation of
the natural “rights of all”
always wrong, and freedom, which is eternally right.
America will not pretend that jailed dissidents prefer
their chains, or that women welcome humiliation and servitude,
or that any human being aspires to live at the mercy of
bullies. We know also that
all nations that subscribe to the respect for human dignity
and its inherent freedom support the same belief. We are
not standing above any nation in this respect, but, rather,
We will encourage reform in other governments by making
clear that success in our relations will require the decent
treatment of their own people. This
is the same accord any parent would seek from another
parent who was neglecting or endangering the freedom and
prosperity of his her children. America's
belief in human dignity will guide our policies, yet rights
must be more than the grudging concessions of dictators;
they are secured by free dissent and the participation
of the governed. In the long run, there is no justice
without freedom, and there can be no human rights without
human liberty. As part of
the Global Sentinel of Vigilance team, we will urge all
nations who run roughshod over fundamental freedoms to
expedite the removal of policies and practices that smother
individual liberty. We understand that an inch in this
direction is a mile, and seek to see progress rather than
Some, I know, have questioned the global appeal of liberty
though this time in history, four decades defined by the
swiftest advance of freedom ever seen, is an odd time
for doubt. Americans, of all people, should never be surprised
by the power of our ideals. Since
the dawn of time,
call of freedom germinates
in comes to every mind and every
soul. We do not accept the existence of permanent tyranny
because to do so would imply
the existence of we do not accept the
possibility of permanent slavery. Liberty will come
to those who love it.
Today, America speaks to
the Parents and Grandparents of Vigilance around the world.
We speak for our own children and all other children as
any parent would were their child in danger.
anew to the peoples of the world:
All who live in the shadow
of tyranny and hopelessness can know:
The United States will not ignore your oppression, or
excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty,
we will stand with you. When
you become Sentinels of Vigilance for your children, we
will march with you, and, while we cannot speak for the
other free nations conclusively, we know that if you are
fighting for the rights of your children, they will also
be stirred to join in your struggle. Only when the world
is unified in Vigilance can the Demons of Tyranny be contained.
This is not the task of any one nation, but requires the
backbone of a global community that cares more for the
rights of their children and their children’s children
than their own immediate satisfaction. It is easy to pass
by a home where a child is being abused inside and say:
“It’s none of my business. I’m not getting
involved.” But it is hard when that abuser starts
beating on your child, or the child of the abuser becomes
an abuser and lashes out with anger and hatred against
those who sanctioned his abuse.
Democratic reformers facing repression, prison, or exile
can know: America sees you for who you are: The future
Parents of Vigilance, examples
of people willing to risk their lives in behalf of future
leaders of your free country.
Today, January 20, 2005,
is the dawn of the Era of Vigilance. While Terrorism burst
through the door at the launching of the millennium, Vigilance
has awakened in all citizens as never before. The world
today is threatened not as individual nations, but as
One crazed Terrorist cell
seeking revenge against the world can unleash deadly toxins
that know no borders, recognize no ethnicity or cultural
lines and kill, maim and endanger the genetic chemistry
of all children.
America is standing up
to the Global Call of Vigilance, it is not creating it.
While many may wish to rebuke our actions, they are not
taken in behalf of America as much as for all nations
and all peoples. We know that Terrorism by its nature
is human cancer, and, unless carved out, will eat its
We also know our children
and the children of all nations are one. The children
do not have differences. They are the pure innocence of
humanity, true citizens of the world.
We will fight tyranny and
oppression for them, as we would expect any Parent of
Vigilance to stand up for the rights of the children.
For that reason, I call
upon you today to join me in a Global Pledge of Vigilance.
I ask you to vow to fight the Beast of Terror with the
Principles of Vigilance, and to tear down cultural, religious,
national, economic, social differences that cleave adults
and consider only the children, and the children’s
children in taking the Pledge.
This is not an American
Pledge, it is a Global Pledge, one we cannot afford to
Join me know in a commitment
to putting Terrorism on perpetual notice that we are all
Parents and Citizens of Vigilance.
(Editors Note: At this
point I stopped editing. While much more could be said,
little more needs be said. And while what is said can
always be said better, dwelling on the "best choice"
at this time isn't beneficial. What is important is that
America is not a "Single Parent of Vigilance."
It is a grand opportunity for the President of the United
States to reshape his battle against Terrorism and enjoin
the world to be Sentinels of Vigilance. This is done by
appealing not to governments but to the people of nations
who understand the words of a father, the truths of a
parent speaking from his heart.)
The rulers of outlaw regimes can know that we still believe
as Abraham Lincoln did: "Those who deny freedom to
others deserve it not for themselves; and, under the rule
of a just God, cannot long retain it."
The leaders of governments with long habits of control
need to know: To serve your people you must learn to trust
them. Start on this journey of progress and justice, and
America will walk at your side.
And all the allies of the United States can know: we
honor your friendship, we rely on your counsel, and we
depend on your help. Division among free nations is a
primary goal of freedoms enemies. The concerted effort
of free nations to promote democracy is a prelude to our
Today, I also speak anew to my fellow citizens:
From all of you, I have asked patience in the hard task
of securing America, which you have granted in good measure.
Our country has accepted obligations that are difficult
to fulfill, and would be dishonorable to abandon. Yet
because we have acted in the great liberating tradition
of this nation, tens of millions have achieved their freedom.
And as hope kindles hope, millions more will find it.
By our efforts, we have lit a fire as well as a fire in
the minds of men. It warms those who feel its power, it
burns those who fight its progress, and one day this untamed
fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of our
A few Americans have accepted the hardest duties in this
cause in the quiet work of intelligence and diplomacy
the idealistic work of helping raise up free governments
the dangerous and necessary work of fighting our enemies.
Some have shown their devotion to our country in deaths
that honored their whole lives and we will always honor
their names and their sacrifice.
All Americans have witnessed this idealism, and some
for the first time. I ask our youngest citizens to believe
the evidence of your eyes. You have seen duty and allegiance
in the determined faces of our soldiers. You have seen
that life is fragile, and evil is real, and courage triumphs.
Make the choice to serve in a cause larger than your wants,
larger than yourself and in your days you will add not
just to the wealth of our country, but to its character.
America has need of idealism and courage, because we
have essential work at home the unfinished work of American
freedom. In a world moving toward liberty, we are determined
to show the meaning and promise of liberty.
In America's ideal of freedom, citizens find the dignity
and security of economic independence, instead of laboring
on the edge of subsistence. This is the broader definition
of liberty that motivated the Homestead Act, the Social
Security Act, and the G.I. Bill of Rights. And now we
will extend this vision by reforming great institutions
to serve the needs of our time. To give every American
a stake in the promise and future of our country, we will
bring the highest standards to our schools, and build
an ownership society. We will widen the ownership of homes
and businesses, retirement savings and health insurance
preparing our people for the challenges of life in a free
society. By making every citizen an agent of his or her
own destiny, we will give our fellow Americans greater
freedom from want and fear, and make our society more
prosperous and just and equal.
In Americas ideal of freedom, the public interest depends
on private character on integrity, and tolerance toward
others, and the rule of conscience in our own lives. Self-government
relies, in the end, on the governing of the self. That
edifice of character is built in families, supported by
communities with standards, and sustained in our national
life by the truths of Sinai, the Sermon on the Mount,
the words of the Koran, and the varied faiths of our people.
Americans move forward in every generation by reaffirming
all that is good and true that came before ideals of justice
and conduct that are the same yesterday, today, and forever.
In America's ideal of freedom, the exercise of rights
is ennobled by service, and mercy, and a heart for the
weak. Liberty for all does not mean independence from
one another. Our nation relies on men and women who look
after a neighbor and surround the lost with love. Americans,
at our best, value the life we see in one another, and
must always remember that even the unwanted have worth.
And our country must abandon all the habits of racism,
because we cannot carry the message of freedom and the
baggage of bigotry at the same time.
From the perspective of a single day, including this
day of dedication, the issues and questions before our
country are many. From the viewpoint of centuries, the
questions that come to us are narrowed and few. Did our
generation advance the cause of freedom? And did our character
bring credit to that cause?
These questions that judge us also unite us, because
Americans of every party and background, Americans by
choice and by birth, are bound to one another in the cause
of freedom. We have known divisions, which must be healed
to move forward in great purposes and I will strive in
good faith to heal them. Yet those divisions do not define
America. We felt the unity and fellowship of our nation
when freedom came under attack, and our response came
like a single hand over a single heart. And we can feel
that same unity and pride whenever America acts for good,
and the victims of disaster are given hope, and the unjust
encounter justice, and the captives are set free.
We go forward with complete confidence in the eventual
triumph of freedom. Not because history runs on the wheels
of inevitability; it is human choices that move events.
Not because we consider ourselves a chosen nation; God
moves and chooses as He wills. We have confidence because
freedom is the permanent hope of mankind, the hunger in
dark places, the longing of the soul. When our Founders
declared a new order of the ages; when soldiers died in
wave upon wave for a union based on liberty; when citizens
marched in peaceful outrage under the banner "Freedom
Now" they were acting on an ancient hope that is
meant to be fulfilled. History has an ebb and flow of
justice, but history also has a visible direction, set
by liberty and the author of Liberty.
When the Declaration of Independence was first read in
public and the Liberty Bell was sounded in celebration,
a witness said, "It rang as if it meant something."
In our time it means something still. America, in this
young century, proclaims liberty throughout all the world,
and to all the inhabitants thereof. Renewed in our strength
tested, but not weary we are ready for the greatest achievements
in the history of freedom.
May God bless you, and may He watch over the United States