George W. Bush to Speak in Beverly Hills, Long Beach

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BEVERLY HILLS (CNS) - Former President George W. Bush is set to begin a rare visit to the Southland tonight by speaking in Beverly Hills.  

Bush will speak at the Saban Theatre at 7 p.m., offering his ``thoughts on eight years in the Oval Office, the challenges facing our nation in the 21st century, the power of freedom, the role of faith and other pressing issues,'' according to the Distinguished Speakers Series of Southern California, which is presenting the speech, along with one at 8 p.m. Monday at the Terrace Theater in Long Beach.  

Sunday's speech comes eight days after Bush made a 10-minute address at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, recalling the attacks, their aftermath, the military response and the attempt by the passengers and crew to regain control of the plane from the hijackers.  

``Twenty years ago, terrorists chose a random group of Americans, on a routine flight, to be collateral damage in a spectacular act of terror,'' Bush said. ``The 33 passengers and seven crew of Flight 93 could have been any group of citizens selected by fate. In that sense, they stood in for us all.  

``The terrorists soon discovered that a random group of Americans is an exceptional group of people. Facing an impossible circumstance, they comforted their loved ones by phone, braced each other for action and defeated the designs of evil.  

``These Americans were brave, strong, and united in ways that shocked the terrorists -- but should not surprise any of us. This is the nation we know. And whenever we need hope and inspiration, we can look to the skies and remember.''

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