Children in a classroom at Emma E Booker Elemetary School in Sarasota County, Florida, were reciting ‘The Pet Goat’, with President George Bush on the morning of September 11, 2001. Five minutes after the President had entered the classroom to sit with the children, his chief of staff Andy Card walked up to him and whispered in his ear, “A second plane has hit the second tower. America is under attack.”
President Bush continued to sit with the children for another seven minutes until about 9.30 am, until his press conference at the school, which was the first time he spoke about the attack, before being escorted to an undisclosed location. He returned to the White House that evening.
This video went on to be discussed widely as it showed the President maintain his composure, although his expression changed after he is informed the news.
In 2011, in an interview to the National Geographic channel, Bush described the experience of watching the reporters at the back of the classroom receiving the news on their mobile phones like “watching a silent movie”. Explaining his response, he said he had immediately realised that a lot of people outside the classroom would be watching to see how he reacted. “So I made the decision not to jump up immediately and leave the classroom. I didn’t want to rattle the kids. I wanted to project a sense of calm,” he explained.
Watch Video| George W Bush reacts to news of 9/11 terror attack
Today marks the 15th anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks in which more than 3,000 people lost their lives. The 9/11 attacks – the first foreign attack on US mainland in 200 years – triggered major US initiatives to combat terrorism, plunging the West into wars that are being fought till today.