It’s Your Patriotic Duty to Stay Indoors

We’ve been taught that eating out, shopping, and spending time together is a form of American resilience. Not this time.

Tom Kludt
GEN
Published in
4 min readMar 16, 2020

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A woman takes a selfie in front of the closed New York Public Library. Photo: David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

TThe most lasting remarks given by former President George W. Bush after 9/11 didn’t come during his Oval Office address on the night of the attacks, in a speech weeks later before a joint session of Congress, or even the statement he delivered through a bullhorn atop a heap of still-smoldering rubble at ground zero, where he promised to exact vengeance. Nothing Bush said in that nervy period shaped the collective attitude of a grieving nation more than his repeated insistence that we change nothing about our daily lives.

It was the duty of all Americans to “go shopping for their families,” he urged less than a week after the attacks. Addressing jittery airline employees at O’Hare, Bush called on everyone to “get on board” and continue their “business around the country.”

“Fly and enjoy America’s great destination spots,” Bush said. “Get down to Disney World in Florida. Take your families and enjoy life the way we want it to be enjoyed.” In a news conference a month after 9/11, Bush hit the same notes again. “We cannot let the terrorists achieve the objective of frightening our nation to the point where we don’t conduct…

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Tom Kludt
GEN
Writer for

Tom Kludt is a journalist in Brooklyn whose work has appeared in Vanity Fair, The Guardian and MEL. He previously worked at Talking Points Memo and CNN.