President George W. Bush, on the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, said Monday the war against terror "is a struggle for civilization" that will require a determined effort by a unified country.
"We are fighting to maintain the way of life enjoyed by free nations," Bush said in remarks prepared for a prime-time address from the Oval Office. The speech was coming at the end of a day in which he honored the memory of the nearly 3,000 people killed in the attacks that rocked his presidency and thrust the United States into a costly and unfinished war against terror.
"Our nation has endured trials, and we face a difficult road ahead," the president said.
Before his address, Bush visited New York, Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and the Defense Department to pay respect to the victims of the attack and show resolve in the struggle against Islamic militants, reports AP.
"America did not ask for this war and every American wishes it were over," the president said. "And so do I. But the war is not over and it will not be over until either we or the extremists emerge victories.
"If we do not defeat these enemies now, we will leave our children to face a Middle East overrun by terrorist states and radical dictators armed with nuclear weapons," Bush said. "We are in a war that will set the course for this new century and determine the destiny of millions across the world."