ABC’s Karen Travers reports:
White House Press Secretary Tony Snow has repeatedly stressed over the last several days that President Bush remarks to the nation from the Oval Office tonight will not be political in nature — in contrast to the series of speeches he delivered last week on the war on terrorism and Iraq.
Instead, the President’s tonight will address how Sept. 11 affected all Americans and what this country has learned in five years.
Snow told reporters that there would be no calls to action, no "attempts to segregate Democrats from Republicans" – the President will talk about how the attacks of Sept. 11 "reshaped" the way the United States looks at the "growing menace" of the Islamists terrorist threat represented by Osama bin Laden, Zarqawi and others.
"[A]s a nation we don’t have the luxury of sitting around and waiting for them to hit us again," he said.
It will be a short speech – only about 17 minutes total – and the President is expected to do one or two rehearsals after he gets back from the Pentagon. First he will have some down time after a long emotional day that had him make stops at all three Sept. 11 attack sites.
We will get a glimpse of the tone of the President’s remarks around 5pm ET when the White House releases excerpts.
Tony Snow told reporters today that the ceremony in Shanksville (PA) was emotional for the President and First Lady, as they greeted so many family members who lost loved ones five years ago.
"There were some people who were still clearly grieving about what happened five years ago," Snow said. "And he just chatted with them, took his time, listened to what people had to say, had condolences."
Snow noted that a number of the families there had been to the White House to see the film "United 93" so the President was seeing them for the second time.
Asked why the President would do such high-profile events on the 5th anniversary when he had not done so in recent years, Snow said that there is "something distinctive about a 5th anniversary."