Friday, September 21, 2001

Speech inspiring to those tied to services

By Derrick DePledge
Enquirer Washington Bureau

        Tristaters with military ties reported they were inspired by President Bush's speech Thursday to a joint session of Congress, and one admitted she cried.

        “It gave a lot of confidence to all of us to hear our president speak so strongly,” said Jeff Wyatt, 35, of Independence, a member of the Ohio National Guard unit in Blue Ash.

        “It needed to be said — the quiet determination, the patient justice. I would be silly to tell you I had no fear of personal injury. At the same time, my profession is in the military and I understand those risks.”

        “I was inspired by it,” said Jim Pfirmann, 43, of Green Township. His son, Scott, 18, is attending West Point.

        “He did a great job. He told the American public what needed to be heard. To stay strong, to keep the economy strong, and not to expect miracles. It's going to take some time. He was right on target.”

        Judy Hubbard, 49, of West Harrison, Ind., cried after hearing President Bush's speech.

        Her tears were inspired by both joy and fear. Her stepson, Leslie K. Hubbard, recently completed Marine Corps basic training at Parris Island, S.C., but was medically discharged because of a knee injury.

        “It was great,” she said of the speech. “He said everything that needed to be said. He encouraged us. We don't know what all we're going to be facing but I'm praying for God's help to get us through it.”

        Mr. Bush spoke Thursday night to discuss the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and outline the administration's response.

        Rep. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said Mr. Bush chose the time and setting to convey the gravity of the crisis. The congressman, a friend of the president, suggested some themes for the speech.

        “It's time for us to take back the skies,” Mr. Portman said. “We cannot let the terrorists make us hostages.”

        He also said all Americans could play a role in the recovery, from donating blood to buying stocks.

        Democrats, who would normally have an official response to Mr. Bush's remarks, decided to give the president the stage alone.

        “There's only one voice that needs to be heard (Thursday),” said Rep. Ted Strickland, D-Ohio. “We need to present a united front to both our friends and our enemies.”

        The speech, said Rep. Ken Lucas, D-Ky., was aimed at assuring the nation and the world that the government is unified against terrorism and the countries that sanction or harbor terrorists.


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