How president's speech played in Seattle area
For a little more than a half-hour last night, President Bush told the world how the United States plans to respond to last week's terrorist attacks. Millions watched or listened, some cheering Bush on, others listening for words to quell their anxiety.
Whether they were still working, driving or at home eating dinner, people in the Seattle area tuned in. Here are some of their reactions:
Miriam Howard, 30, a free-lance video editor and manager of an espresso bar, didn't vote for Bush for president and hasn't thought of him as up to the job.
But after listening to his speech on radio, she declared his remarks "very strong, very confident and very unified in tone." Devoid of partisanship and sophisticated in its world view, the speech, Howard said, "spoke to me just being an American."
A high point, she said, was Bush's urging of fair treatment toward all Americans — a statement that came amid suspicion and hate crimes aimed at Arab Americans and Muslims.
"A strong touch," she said.
Howard, a resident of Seattle's Queen Anne Hill, was less pleased with his criticism of the cultural practices of the Taliban. The harsh words should be directed toward terrorism, Howard said, especially as the U.S. seeks allies in Muslim countries.
Eric Silberstein, 57, is not conflicted about what the United States needs to do: "We have to cripple the terrorists."
Bush's speech was forceful, Silberstein said, and left no doubt the nation will lead the world's battle.
"I thought the American people needed to have a feeling of confidence and someone in charge, and I thought the speech made that clear," said Silberstein, who lives on Queen Anne and heads a company that makes vessels that harvest fish food.
"I'm thankful that the country's not led by Neville Chamberlain at this time," he added, a reference to the much-criticized British leader who failed to stand up to Hitler in the German's early days of power.
Al Weddle, 78, is a retired truck salesman and police officer living in Seattle. He was a Navy diver stationed at Pearl Harbor the day Japanese bombed it. A former Democrat who voted for Bush, he watched the speech to see how this new generation would handle its greatest test.
"As an 18-year-old at Pearl Harbor I became an old man real quick. I have memories I wish I didn't have.
"But there are times when this country needs you, and this is one of them. Having survived two wars, I can't say I've heard a speech like this since Franklin Roosevelt.
"A very powerful speech."
Like so many people, Mark Solomon, 53, had a quick, simple reaction after the Sept. 11 attacks: Retaliate.
But in the days since, he has turned the complications over in his head: Do we fight back alone if need be? On the home front, what is the balance between a fearsome fight against terrorism and the maintenance of civil liberties?
More immediately, Solomon, who lives in Mountlake Terrace, is worried about the economy and called the White House to say so. He books entertainment for weddings, corporate events and conventions — a business that could have a bleak outlook in an atmosphere of worry and belt-tightening.
Solomon watched the speech at home last night, hoping Bush would urge Americans to show their patriotism, in part, by spending.
He thought Bush did a pretty good job on that point, but, Solomon said, "You can't go overboard as president and make people unafraid if they are afraid."
John Sargent, 49, a computer worker who lives in Seattle's Northgate neighborhood, is too angry and worried to be soothed or emboldened by Bush's speech.
He supposes it did some good to rally Congress and the public but said a military response is needed to "build up our self-esteem. ... Of course, not bombing innocent civilians — just to put those terrorists on their toes."
Sargent believes that will take time and that it should — until the United States has the information it needs. In the meantime, he won't be able to heed Bush's call to return to life as normal.
"I'm not real assured that everything's just going to be back to normal. ... (Bush) said himself it's going to take a long time to weed out these people."
Jawad Kahki, 43, is the president of the Ithna-Asheri Muslim Association of the Northwest. A political independent, he listened to the speech on National Public Radio, both as a Muslim and an American.
He was pleased Bush praised the Muslim faith for its peaceful teachings.
"I really agree with the president that this is a defining moment for the world. But it would've been great if he reached out to community leaders, to priests, imams, rabbis and monks, and asked them to help us arrive at a global village that provides liberty and justice to all.
"When we don't have economic and social justice, it gives the opportunity for evil people to have their say."
Susan Moore, 54, is a technical writer living in Bothell. A Democrat who voted for Al Gore last fall, she watched the speech with her husband and the family dogs, Boz and Skeeter. Boz is hers; Skeeter belongs to her daughter, who finished Marine boot camp three weeks ago.
"I thought it was a really reassuring and strong speech. But it scared me, too.
"I belong to a group called Marine Moms Online, and I've been getting e-mails from moms saying their sons are getting shipped out.
"They say they've had to fill out wills, which is normal procedure, but still I think my daughter's going to be in this for a long haul — and I'm frightened."
Seattle Times staff reporters John Zebrowski and Beth Kaiman contributed to this report.