Pictures Show Moment George Bush Learned About 9/11 In School Classroom
| Last updated
This is the moment President George W. Bush was told that a second plane had hit one of the World Trade Center towers on 11 September 2001:
Bush, who was the POTUS at the time of the attacks, was passed the information during a visit to Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida.
He was in a classroom full of pupils, teachers and photographers when one of his aides approached him and whispered in his ear - telling him of the events which were beginning to unfold.
After finding out about the second plane hitting one of the World Trade Center buildings (18 minutes after the first plane hit another of the towers), Bush remained calm.
He went on to turn the school into a makeshift command centre, where he went on to address the nation before boarding Air Force One and going to a secure location.
A TikTok video, posted by @ianthemoon, shows the moment unfold with one personcommenting: "Y'all realise he sat there so he didn't freak out all the kids and reporters in the room with him, bc [because] if he got up and stormed out of the room it would cause mass panic."
Pictures show later scenes where Bush and his associates were watching television reports of the attacks, listening to new security information and making calls to the FBI.
It has been reported that Bush also made a call to the New York Governor, George Pataki.
Talking about the school visit prior to the attacks, Andy Card - Chief of Staff at the White House, later said: "The president was in a great mood. He had that George W. Bush strut that morning.
"I remember literally telling him, 'It should be an easy day.' Those were the words: 'It should be an easy day.'"
He went on to add: "We were standing at the door to the classroom, when a staffer came up and said, simply, 'Sir, it appears that a twin-engine prop plane crashed into one of the World Trade Center towers.'
"We all said something like 'what a tragedy'. I remember I was thinking about the passengers - how much they must've worried as they realised what was about to happen.
"It was only a nanosecond, and then the principal opened the door and the president went into the classroom to meet the students."
Card went on to explain: "Another plane hit the other Tower. My mind flashed to three initials: UBL. Usama bin Laden. Then I was thinking that we had White House people there - my deputy, Joe Hagin, and a team were in New York preparing for the UN General Assembly.
"I was thinking that Joe was probably at the World Trade Center - that's where the Secret Service office was, in the basement."
Dave Wilkinson, assistant agent-in-charge, US Secret Service, added: "All of a sudden it hits me: the president's the only one who doesn't know that this plane has hit the second building. It was a discomfort to all of us that the president didn't know. The event was dragging on, and that's when Andy Card came out."
Card continued: "A thousand times a day, a chief of staff has to ask, 'Does the president need to know?' This was an easy test to pass.
"When I was standing at the classroom door, I knew I was delivering a message that no president would want to hear. I knew that my message would define the moment.
"I decided to pass on two facts and an editorial comment. I didn't want to invite a conversation because the president was sitting in front of the classroom.
"Then the teacher asked the students to take out their books, so I took that opportunity to approach the president. I whispered in his ear, 'A second plane hit the second Tower. America is under attack.'
"I took a couple steps back so he couldn't ask any questions. The students were completely focused on their books. I remember thinking, 'What a bizarre stage we're standing on.' I was pleased with how the president reacted - he didn't do anything to create fear."