Former President George W. Bush turned 69 years old today. Here are 11 quotes from the 43rd president in honor of his birthday.
1. “We have a place, all of us, in a long story—a story we continue, but whose end we will not see,” Bush said during his Inaugural Address on Jan. 20, 2001.
“It is the story of a new world that became a friend and liberator of the old, a story of a slave-holding society that became a servant of freedom, the story of a power that went into the world to protect but not possess, to defend but not to conquer. It is the American story—a story of flawed and fallible people, united across the generations by grand and enduring ideals.”
2. On his birthday in 2001, Bush held a joint press conference with his father, former President George H.W. Bush. He was asked what he wanted for his birthday.
“I want—I’m going to get what I want for my birthday: spend time with my family, a couple of good phone calls from some little girls down in Texas,” Bush said.
3, During his remarks to the nation following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Bush said that the nation would “go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world”:
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, businessmen 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 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.
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.
4. “I can hear you! The rest of the world hears you! And the people—and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!” Bush said to rescue workers at ground zero on Sept. 14, 2001.
5. “Freedom and fear are at war. The advance of human freedom—the great achievement of our time, and the great hope of every time—now depends on us. Our nation—this generation—will lift a dark threat of violence from our people and our future. We will rally the world to this cause by our efforts, by our courage. We will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail,” Bush said during an address to a joint session of Congress on Sept. 20, 2001.
6. “We mourn every loss,” Bush said during remarks about the war in Iraq on Nov. 3, 2003, according to The New York Times. ”We honor every name. We grieve with every family. And we will always be grateful that liberty has found such brave defenders.”
7. “I believe that freedom is the deepest need of every human soul,” Bush said during a press conference on April 13, 2004.
8. “Our nation is committed to an historic, long-term goal—we seek the end of tyranny in our world,” Bush said during his State of the Union Address on Jan. 31, 2006. “Some dismiss that goal as misguided idealism. In reality, the future security of America depends on it.”
9. “It has been the privilege of a lifetime to serve as your president,” Bush said during his farewell address on Jan. 15, 2009:
There have been good days and tough days. But every day I have been inspired by the greatness of our country, and uplifted by the goodness of our people. I have been blessed to represent this nation we love. And I will always be honored to carry a title that means more to me than any other—citizen of the United States of America.
And so, my fellow Americans, for the final time: Good night. May God bless this house and our next president. And may God bless you and our wonderful country. Thank you.
10. “I have written a book. This will come as a shock to some of the elites. They didn’t think I could read a book, much less write one. It’s been an interesting experience. I’m not shilling for it—aw, heck, you oughta buy a copy.” Bush said on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2010, in Mobile, Ala., according to the Press-Register.
11. In 2012, Bush told CNN that his decision to remain out of the public eye since leaving office has brought “a certain sense of liberation.”
“Eight years was awesome, and I was famous and I was powerful but I have no desire for fame and power any more,” Bush said. ” … the other person who has served as a role model for me for a long time was George H. W. Bush, who famously said once you leave the stage you stay off the stage, and I thought long and hard about that. And decided that not being on the stage was something I am comfortable with.”