President Bush`s Address on September 11, 2001
SPEECH ANALYSIS 5
PresidentBush`s Address on September 11, 2001
PresidentBush`s Address on September 11, 2001
PresidentGeorge W. Bush served as America’s 43rdpresident between 2001 and 2009. He was well-versed on affairsaffecting the country and was great at delivering speeches. It wasduring his time that the US underwent one of its most trying momentsafter terrorists attacked the World Trade Center, The Pentagon, and apassenger plane. The attacks left 2753 people dead, most of them men(Bligh, Kohles & Meindl, 2004). There were varied reactions tothe incident. An analysis of the speech by President Bush to thenation on September 11, 2001, offers an insight into itseffectiveness.
Thespeech was the presidential address in response to terrorist attackson American soil. Such a speech is common practice by all Americanpresidents in a case of a disaster. It was meant to calm down thecitizens and help reassure them of the government’s capacity toprotect them and support them as they go through a difficult time.The primary audience was the American people while the rest of theworld formed the secondary audience. The speaker points to severalfacts that suggest the attacks were horrible. He mentions burningairplanes crushing into buildings, collapsing of enormous buildings,and huge fires burning (Text of Bush`s address, 2001).
Thespeaker uses several strategies to meet the needs of his audience.One of them is an appropriate body language (Beebe, 2012). Hemaintains a sad face throughout the speech in line with the mood ofthe country. Another strategy is choosing words that describe thekind of impact that the event he is addressing has had on hisaudience. Another strategy is reducing anxiety in the audience. Thepresident`s goals are to ensure that he eliminates panic among thecitizenry, order prevails in the country, and that he unites everyonein a renewed fight against terrorism. However, much of theinformation the president gives is general in nature and fails tooffer specifics on the death toll, casualty figures and number ofsecurity officers dispatched to the scene to handle the rescueoperations. The information is not adequate it leaves the audienceguessing.
Theaudience, primarily American citizenry, is important to the speakeras they look up to him for guidance. If not offered direction and areason to remain calm, the public may panic and engage in chaos,blame game, and a lack of faith in the government’s ability toprotect them. There are multiple audiences if they narrow down tothose who have lost their loved ones, those involved in rescueefforts, the ordinary citizen who feels the loss of losing theirfellow countrypersons, and those involved in the fight on terrorismamong others.
Theaddress by the president was a success as it achieved its purpose ofcalming down the public while also uniting them against acts ofterrorism. One can tell the success of the speech by looking at theevents that followed after the speech. Even though one would haveexpected suspicion and strained relationships among people based ontheir race and religious affiliation, the case was different.
Thespeaker carefully chooses his words given the weight of the matter,to avoid creating the wrong impression that may offend someindividuals. For instance, he uses the term America when referring tothe subjects of attack to show solidarity with those who weredirectly affected by the events of the day. The term is inclusive ofeveryone irrespective of their background. He manages to establishthe appropriate tone through the use of words that denote themagnitude of the problem that has befallen the country and the needfor unity. The speech also includes a quote from the Bible to serveas an encouragement to all.
Clearly,President Bush’s speech impacts his audience significantly.Personally, I learned from the speech the need to show strength evenwhen the audience least expects it. Such a demeanor helps one to getthe attention of the audience and wield influence over them. Thespeaker sparked in me a resolve to work towards honing my word choiceskills if I am to be more effective in my speeches.
Bligh,M. C., Kohles, J. C., & Meindl, J. R. (2004). Charting thelanguage of leadership: A methodological investigation of PresidentBush and the crisis of 9/11. Journalof Applied Psychology,89(3),562.
Beebe,S. A. (2012). Publicspeaking handbook.London, England: Pearson Higher Ed.
Textof Bush`s address. (2001, September 11). Retrieved March 31, 2017,from http://edition.cnn.com/2001/US/09/11/bush.speech.text/
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