What? Bush didn't end with "God bless America"?
I check the full text. It ends this way:
This is a decent and honorable country, and resilient too. We’ve been through a lot together. We’ve met challenges and faced dangers, and we know that more lie ahead. Yet we can go forward with confidence, because the state of our union is strong, our cause in the world is right, and tonight that cause goes on.Somehow those last two words got left out of the "interactive graphic."
But it's interesting that Bush just said "God bless." Didn't he always say "God bless America"? Let's look:
2001: "Good night and God bless."He seems to have come full circle. The blessing started out short, took its fullest form in the grandiloquent 2005 speech, then got small again. Reading the different blessings, what strikes me the most is that in 2001 he used, word for word, the tag line Red Skelton always ended his show with.
2002: "May God bless." (Said shortly after "God is near.")
2003: The most religious ending: "Americans are a free people, who know that freedom is the right of every person and the future of every nation. The liberty we prize is not America's gift to the world, it is God's gift to humanity. We Americans have faith in ourselves, but not in ourselves alone. We do not know -- we do not claim to know all the ways of Providence, yet we can trust in them, placing our confidence in the loving God behind all of life, and all of history. May He guide us now. And may God continue to bless the United States of America."
2004: "May God continue to bless America."
2005: "[M]ay God bless America."
2006: "May God bless America."
2007: "God bless."
I would have thought that if Bush was going to switch to saying "God bless America," it would have happened in 2002, given the prominence of the song "God bless America" after the 9/11 attacks. But it's the 2003 speech, the one with the elaborately religious ending that introduces "God bless America" to Bush's State of the Union style. He adopts the long form: "may God continue to bless the United States of America." This is the speech that immediately precedes the invasion of Iraq. The liberty we prize is not America's gift to the world, it is God's gift to humanity. Ah! It was Bush's tragic mistake to believe that. God behind all of life, and all of history. May He guide us now. Ah! To think such a thing!