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Context of '9:02 a.m. September 11, 2001: President Bush Enters the Classroom to Participate in a Reading Demonstration'

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Bush’s motorcade arrives at Booker Elementary School.Bush’s motorcade arrives at Booker Elementary School. [Source: Lions Gate Films]President Bush’s motorcade arrives at Booker Elementary School for a photo-op to promote his education policies. (Sack 9/16/2001; Plunket 11/2001; Langley 12/16/2001; Bayles 9/10/2002; Krueger 9/10/2002; ABC News 9/11/2002; Sammon 10/7/2002) If he left the Colony Resort around 8:35 a.m. as reported, the timing of his arrival at 8:55 a.m. is consistent with the fact that the trip from the resort to the school is said to take 20 minutes. The Booker Elementary School is reportedly “well-equipped for the brief presidential visit. Police and Secret Service agents [are] on the roof, on horseback and in every hallway. The White House [has] installed 49 new phone lines for staffers and reporters.” (Sack 9/16/2001; Adair and Hegarty 9/8/2002; Andersen 12/1/2002)

Karl Rove, Andrew Card, and Dan Bartlett.
Karl Rove, Andrew Card, and Dan Bartlett. [Source: White House, US Office Pristina, Kosovo, White House]President Bush is told that a plane has crashed into the World Trade Center for the first time by Karl Rove, his senior adviser, according to some accounts, although other accounts will state that he is first alerted to the crash by another member of his staff. Bush has just arrived at the Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida, where he is going to attend a children’s reading event (see (8:55 a.m.) September 11, 2001). (Sammon 2002, pp. 41-42; Bush 2010, pp. 126; Rove 2010, pp. 249-250; Priess 2016, pp. 240; Graff 9/9/2016)
Rove Tells Bush about the Crash - During the drive to the school, several members of his staff were informed about the crash at the WTC (see (Between 8:48 a.m. and 8:55 a.m.) September 11, 2001). (Bartlett 8/12/2002; Lance 8/17/2003) Rove received a call alerting him to what had happened as he was arriving at the school (see (8:55 a.m.) September 11, 2001). He will later recall that he then walks over to Bush, who is “with Secretary of Education Rod Paige, shaking hands with staff and teachers outside the school,” and tells him about the crash. (Lemann 9/25/2001; Rove 2010, pp. 249-250; Graff 9/9/2016) White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, who arrived at the school around the time the president did, will give a similar account, writing that while Bush is shaking “hands with the teachers and staff who had lined up to greet him,” Rove “stepped beside the president and told him about the plane” hitting the WTC. (Fleischer 2005, pp. 138-139)
Bush Thinks the Crash Was 'a Terrible Accident' - Rove tells Bush the crash appears to have been an accident involving a small, twin-engine plane. (Balz and Woodward 1/27/2002) Bush nods his head, gives “a quizzical look,” and says, “Get more details,” Rove will describe. (Rove 2010, pp. 250) The president’s initial thoughts in response to the news are: “How could the [pilot] have gotten so off course to hit the towers? What a terrible accident that is.” (Sammon 2002, pp. 42; Sammon 10/7/2002) He says: “This is pilot error. It’s unbelievable that somebody would do this.” He confers with Andrew Card, his chief of staff, and says the plane’s pilot “must have had a heart attack.” (Balz and Woodward 1/27/2002)
Someone Else First Gives Bush the News, Other Accounts Will State - Rove will claim that he “was the first to tell [Bush] the news” about the crash. (Rove 2010, pp. 250) However, according to other accounts, Bush is first told about the crash by some other member of the White House staff. For example, Navy Captain Deborah Loewer, director of the White House Situation Room, will say she was the first person to inform Bush about it, running up to his limousine and giving him the news as soon as he arrived at the school (see (8:55 a.m.) September 11, 2001). (Associated Press 11/26/2001; Lance 8/17/2003; Priess 2016, pp. 240) And in 2002, Bush will tell journalist and author Bill Sammon that he was first told about the crash by Card. He will say that as he was heading into the school, while Blake Gottesman, his personal aide, was giving him some final instructions in preparation for the reading event, Card said to him, “By the way, an aircraft flew into the World Trade Center.” (Sammon 2002, pp. 41-42; Sammon 10/7/2002) But on other occasions, Bush will state that he was first told about the crash by Rove. (Balz and Woodward 1/27/2002; Bush 2010, pp. 126) Bush is also told about the crash, after he arrives at the school, by Dan Bartlett, his communications director, according to some accounts. In response to the news, Bartlett will say, Bush asks, “Was it bad weather [that caused the crash]?” (Bartlett 8/12/2002; Draper 2007, pp. 135) After learning about the crash, Bush will go to a classroom from where he will talk on the phone with National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, who is at the White House, and discuss what has happened with her (see (Shortly Before 9:00 a.m.) September 11, 2001). (Sammon 10/7/2002; Bush 2010, pp. 126-127)

National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice phones President Bush, who is away in Florida, to pass on to him the news that a plane has crashed into the World Trade Center, and she tells the president that the plane involved was a commercial jetliner, not a light aircraft. (Rice 11/1/2001; 9/11 Commission 7/24/2004, pp. 35; Bush 2010, pp. 126) Rice, who is in her office at the White House, has just been informed of the crash by her executive assistant, but she mistakenly believes it was an accident involving a small plane (see Shortly After 8:46 a.m. September 11, 2001). (Rice 10/24/2001; Rice 9/11/2002) Bush has just arrived at the Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota for an education event there (see (8:55 a.m.) September 11, 2001). (Sammon 2002, pp. 41-42; Rice 8/1/2002 pdf file)
Bush Calls WTC Crash a 'Strange Accident' - Rice calls Navy Captain Deborah Loewer, the director of the White House Situation Room, who is traveling with the president, and Loewer fetches Bush. (Rice 10/24/2001) Bush goes to a classroom that has been converted into a communications center for the traveling White House staff and talks to Rice using a secure phone there. (Bush 2010, pp. 126) Rice says, “Mr. President, a plane crashed into the World Trade Center.” (Rice 10/24/2001) Bush has already been informed of this by members of his entourage (see (8:55 a.m.) September 11, 2001 and (Shortly After 8:55 a.m.) September 11, 2001). (Associated Press 11/26/2001; Sammon 2002, pp. 42; Bush 2010, pp. 126) He says, “That’s a really strange accident,” and Rice replies, “Yeah, it really is.” (Bumiller 2007, pp. xi-xii)
Bush Told that Crash Involved a Commercial Plane - Bush asks Rice, “What kind of plane?” and Rice says she has been told it was a twin-engine plane. She tells Bush she will let him know if she learns anything more about the crash. Around this time, Rice’s executive assistant, Army Lieutenant Colonel Tony Crawford, comes and tells Rice that it is now believed the plane that hit the WTC was a commercial plane. Rice passes on this information to Bush and then says, “That’s all we know right now, Mr. President.” (Rice 10/24/2001; Rice 11/1/2001; Thomas 12/30/2001; 9/11 Commission 7/24/2004, pp. 35) Bush will later recall that at this moment, “I was stunned.” He thinks to himself: “That plane must have had the worst pilot in the world. How could he possibly have flown into a skyscraper on a clear day? Maybe he’d had a heart attack.” Bush mutters, “There’s one terrible pilot.” He tells Rice to stay on top of the situation and then asks his communications director, Dan Bartlett, to work on a statement promising the full support of federal emergency management services. (Sammon 2002, pp. 42-43; Bush 2010, pp. 126-127)
Bush and Rice Continue with Their Schedules - After the call ends, Bush heads on to watch a children’s reading drill at the school (see 9:02 a.m. September 11, 2001) and Rice goes to her senior staff meeting (see (9:04 a.m.) September 11, 2001). (Rice 8/2/2002; Rice 8/6/2002; Sammon 10/7/2002) Representative Dan Miller (R-FL), who is waiting in a receiving line to meet the president, has been told to hold on while Bush takes the call from Rice. When Bush comes over to Miller after the call, he appears unbothered. Miller will recall: “[I]t was nothing different from the normal, brief greeting with the president. I don’t think he was aware at the time, maybe, of the seriousness.” (Martin 7/4/2004) Author James Bamford will comment that at this time, “neither Rice nor Bush was aware that the United States had gone to ‘battle stations’ alert and had scrambled fighter jets into the air to intercept and possibly take hostile action against multiple hijacked airliners, something that was then known by hundreds of others within NORAD, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the Pentagon.” (Bamford 2004, pp. 17)

Gwendolyn Tosé-Rigell.Gwendolyn Tosé-Rigell. [Source: Rod Millington / Sarasota Herald-Tribune]President Bush informs the principal of the Florida school he is visiting about the plane crash at the World Trade Center, but says he is still going ahead with his planned event, listening to a children’s reading drill at the school. (Associated Press 8/25/2002; Bayles 9/10/2002) Bush recently arrived at the Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota (see (8:55 a.m.) September 11, 2001) and has just talked over the phone with National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice about the crash, but he thinks it was an accident (see (Shortly Before 9:00 a.m.) September 11, 2001). (Rice 8/1/2002 pdf file; Bush 2010, pp. 126-127) The school’s principal, Gwendolyn Tosé-Rigell, is now summoned to the room where Bush received the call, to talk to the president. Tosé-Rigell will later recall that Bush “said a commercial plane has hit the World Trade Center, and we’re going to go ahead and go on, we’re going on to do the reading thing anyway.” She will comment, “At that point my summation was they wanted him to know about this because it was important, but it couldn’t be anything huge.” Bush then heads into the classroom of Sandra Kay Daniels, to listen to the reading drill (see 9:02 a.m. September 11, 2001). (Associated Press 8/25/2002; Bayles 9/10/2002)

President Bush enters Sandra Kay Daniels’ classroom.President Bush enters Sandra Kay Daniels’ classroom. [Source: Lions Gate Films]President Bush enters the second-grade classroom of teacher Sandra Kay Daniels at the Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida, where he is going to listen to the children reading. (Sammon 2002, pp. 43; Associated Press 8/25/2002) Bush is scheduled to observe a series of reading drills in the class and the demonstration is set to end at 9:15 a.m. (US President 9/2001) He arrived at the school shortly before 9:00 a.m. (see (8:55 a.m.) September 11, 2001). (Sammon 2002, pp. 41) Since then, he has been told that a plane has crashed into the World Trade Center (see (8:55 a.m.) September 11, 2001 and (Shortly After 8:55 a.m.) September 11, 2001) and that the plane involved was a commercial airliner (see (Shortly Before 9:00 a.m.) September 11, 2001). (Lance 8/17/2003; Rove 2010, pp. 249-250; Bohn 2015, pp. 214)
Bush Enters the Classroom Two Minutes Late - After taking a call from National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Bush enters Daniels’ classroom for the reading demonstration two minutes later than planned, at 9:02 a.m. (Sammon 2002, pp. 42-43; Sammon 10/7/2002) About 60 people are in the room, including 16 second graders and Daniels, their teacher. (Plunket 11/2001; Stein 9/11/2011) Reporters who are traveling with the president and members of the local media are assembled at the back of the room. (Associated Press 8/25/2002) Secret Service agents are lying in the trusses above the room. (Bayles 9/10/2002)
Bush Is Introduced to the Class - Gwendolyn Tosé-Rigell, the school principal, accompanies Bush into the room. She says hello to the children and then tells them, “Would you please stand and recognize the president of the United States—President Bush.” After saying, “Good morning,” Bush introduces the children to Secretary of Education Rod Paige and Florida Lieutenant Governor Frank Brogan, who come in behind him and then take their positions at the side of the room. Bush tells the children, “Good to meet you all.” Tosé-Rigell then introduces the president to Daniels. He goes over to the teacher and shakes her hand. After instructing the children to sit down, he tells the class: “It’s really exciting for me to be here. I want to thank Ms. Daniels for being a teacher. I want to thank Gwen for being a principal. And I want to thank you all for practicing reading so much. It’s really important.” Finally, a minute after he entered the classroom, Daniels and the children begin their reading demonstration.
Bush Still Thinks the Crash at the WTC Was an Accident - As he watches the children reading, Bush will start thinking about the statement he will need to make about the crash at the WTC, although he is not particularly troubled about the incident at the moment. “I was concentrating on the [reading] program at this point, thinking about what I was going to say,” he will later recall. He will add: “Obviously, I felt [the crash] was an accident. I was concerned about it, but there were no alarm bells.” (Sammon 2002, pp. 43-49; Sammon 10/7/2002) A few minutes after the reading demonstration begins, Andrew Card, Bush’s chief of staff, will enter the room, and whisper to the president that a second plane has crashed into the WTC and America is under attack (see (9:07 a.m.) September 11, 2001), but despite hearing this devastating news, Bush will stay in the room and listen to the rest of the demonstration (see (9:08 a.m.-9:13 a.m.) September 11, 2001). (Sammon 2002, pp. 83-91; Sammon 10/7/2002; Paltrow 3/22/2004 pdf file; 9/11 Commission 7/24/2004, pp. 38-39)

Members of President Bush’s staff who are with Bush at the Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida, are informed of the second plane crashing into the World Trade Center but then have to find a television in order to see the coverage of it. (Bartlett 8/12/2002; Rove 2010, pp. 250; KFDI 12/11/2012) While Bush goes into a classroom to participate in a reading demonstration (see 9:02 a.m. September 11, 2001), several members of his traveling staff stay in the “staff hold.” (Rove 2010, pp. 250) The staff hold, according to deputy White House press secretary Scott McClellan, is “a private room set up as a quiet work space with secure and non-secure phones for us to use during a presidential visit.” (McClellan 2008, pp. 101) If you pick up one of the secure phones, Bush’s senior adviser, Karl Rove, will later write, “someone with a quiet military voice answers, you make a request, and a moment or two later, you’re talking to anybody you want, anywhere in the world.” (Rove 2010, pp. 250) The staff hold, on this occasion, is next to the classroom where Bush is participating in the reading demonstration. (McClellan 2008, pp. 101)
Staffers Think the First Crash Was an Accident - Members of Bush’s staff who stay in the staff hold while Bush joins the reading demonstration include White House chief of staff Andrew Card, White House communications director Dan Bartlett, White House staff secretary Harriet Miers, and Rove. (Rove 2010, pp. 250) Also in the room, according to Rove, are Major Paul Montanus, one of the president’s military aides, and “the military doctor, the surgeon, and the surgical nurse with a full operating kit” who “stand ready to go to the aid of the president if he falls ill or is shot or somehow injured.” (KFDI 12/11/2012) These individuals are aware of the first crash at the WTC. “All of us are still trying to find out information about that, to confirm what our instincts were,” Bartlett will recall, “and our instincts were that this was a tragic accident.”
Staffers Learn about the Second Crash - After the second plane hits the WTC at 9:03 a.m. (see 9:03 a.m. September 11, 2001), the staffers quickly learn about the incident in calls to their cell phones or pager messages. “[Y]ou could see it, the rippling effect of people being informed about what was happening,” Bartlett will recall. However, he will say, “most of the tone was disbelief and not knowing what was going on.” Bartlett learns about the crash in a call from his assistant at the White House, who tells him, “You’re not going to believe this, Dan, but the other tower was hit.” Bartlett asks his assistant what she means and she says, “Another plane, another plane hit the other tower, World Trade Center.” (Bartlett 8/12/2002; Bartlett 8/12/2002) Rove learns about the crash when Susan Ralston, his executive assistant, calls him with the news. (Lemann 9/25/2001) Card, meanwhile, learns about it from Navy Captain Deborah Loewer, the director of the White House Situation Room, who is traveling with the president in Florida and is with Card in the staff hold (see Shortly After 9:03 a.m. September 11, 2001). (McGinn 3/16/2013; Priess 2016, pp. 240-241)
No Television Has Been Set Up in the Staff Hold - Unusually, a television has not been set up in the staff hold, so the staffers there are initially unable to see the coverage of the second attack. “Normally there’s a television in the staff hold,” Rove will comment. “But for some strange reason, this morning at Booker Elementary there was no television in there.” Rove therefore has to go out of the room, and run “up and down the hallways of the elementary school trying to find a television.” He eventually finds one in a classroom and then hurriedly rolls it into the staff hold. But he then has trouble connecting it to cable. The first socket he plugs it into doesn’t work. But after he plugs it into another socket, he gets a signal and the TV starts showing footage of the second crash. (KFDI 12/11/2012; Rove 9/3/2013) Around the same time, those in the staff hold make contact with their colleagues at the White House and work with them on coordinating a response to the attacks. (Bartlett 8/12/2002; Bartlett 8/12/2002)

Andrew Card speaks to President Bush and tells him of the second World Trade Center crash.Andrew Card speaks to President Bush and tells him of the second World Trade Center crash. [Source: Agence France-Presse]Andrew Card, President Bush’s chief of staff, enters the classroom where Bush is participating in a reading demonstration, and tells him about the second crash at the World Trade Center and that America is under attack. (ABC News 9/11/2002; Yurdakul 9/10/2009; BBC 9/9/2011) Bush learned about the first hijacked plane crashing into the WTC when he arrived at the Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida, shortly before 9:00 a.m. (see (8:55 a.m.) September 11, 2001 and (Shortly After 8:55 a.m.) September 11, 2001). (Associated Press 11/26/2001; Rove 2010, pp. 249-250) He decided, though, to continue with the scheduled event at the school (see (9:00 a.m.) September 11, 2001). (Associated Press 8/25/2002) Card was told about the second crash at the WTC by Deborah Loewer, director of the White House Situation Room, while he was in the “staff hold,” a room adjacent to the classroom where the reading demonstration is taking place (see Shortly After 9:03 a.m. September 11, 2001). (McGinn 3/16/2013; Priess 2016, pp. 240-241) He decided that he needed to tell the president what had happened and went to pass on the news to Bush. (Yurdakul 9/10/2009; BBC 9/9/2011)
Bush Is Told, 'America Is under Attack' - In the classroom, the children have just finished a spelling and pronunciation drill, and are reaching for their textbooks for the second part of the reading demonstration. Card, who was waiting at the door, takes advantage of the lull. He walks across the room toward Bush, leans down, and whispers in the president’s ear: “A second plane hit the second tower. America is under attack.” He then takes a couple of steps back so the president is unable to ask him any questions. (Sammon 10/7/2002; Paltrow 3/22/2004 pdf file; Bohn 2015, pp. 214; Graff 9/9/2016) “There was no time for discussion or anything,” Bush will later comment. Card then takes up a position at the side of the room, next to Florida Lieutenant Governor Frank Brogan. (Sammon 2002, pp. 83-84) Card will explain why he gives such a brief message to Bush about the second crash, saying: “I knew that this was not the place to stand and have a conversation with the president. I just wanted to convey the situation to the president in stark reality and inviting him, then, to find the best chance to excuse himself from the classroom.” (Card 8/12/2002)
Bush Feels 'Outrage' but Continues with the Event - Bush will recall how he feels after hearing Card’s message, writing: “My first reaction was outrage. Someone had dared attack America. They were going to pay.” (Bush 2010, pp. 127) “An expression of grim sobriety spread across the president’s face” after Card speaks to him, journalist and author Bill Sammon will describe. “He raised his chin and nodded almost imperceptibly to signal that he got the message. His eyes darted nervously around the room, as if he didn’t know quite where to focus them.” (Sammon 2002, pp. 84) However, even though it is now clear that America is under attack, the Secret Service takes no action to get Bush out of the classroom. “[N]o agents were there to surround the president and remove him instantly,” author Philip Melanson will note. (Melanson 2005, pp. 330-331) Instead, perhaps 15 or 30 seconds after Card speaks to him, Bush picks up his copy of the textbook and continues listening to the children reading. (Barrs 9/1/2002)
Bush Will Be Criticized for Continuing with the Event - Intelligence expert and author James Bamford will criticize Bush for his lack of response to Card’s devastating information, writing: “[H]aving just been told that the country was under attack, the commander in chief appeared uninterested in further details. He never asked if there had been any additional threats, where the attacks were coming from, how to best protect the country from further attacks, or what was the current status of NORAD or the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Nor did he call for an immediate return to Washington. Instead, in the middle of a modern-day Pearl Harbor, he simply turned back to the matter at hand: the day’s photo op.” (Bamford 2002, pp. 633) Bush, though, will explain his lack of response to the 9/11 Commission, telling it that “his instinct was to project calm, not to have the country see an excited reaction at a moment of crisis.” He will say that he “felt he should project strength and calm until he could better understand what was happening.”
Bush Remains in the Classroom for Several More Minutes - Card tells Bush about the second crash at 9:05 a.m., according to the 9/11 Commission Report. (9/11 Commission 7/24/2004, pp. 38) But ABC News reporter Ann Compton, who is in the classroom watching the reading demonstration, recognizes that something serious has happened when she sees Card interrupting the event and makes a note of the time, which her watch shows as 9:07 a.m. (ABC News 9/11/2002) Bush will stay in the classroom for at least seven minutes after Card informs him of the second crash (see (9:08 a.m.-9:13 a.m.) September 11, 2001 and (9:13 a.m.-9:15 a.m.) September 11, 2001). (Paltrow 3/22/2004 pdf file)

President Bush and Sandra Kay Daniels read while the media watches.President Bush and Sandra Kay Daniels read while the media watches. [Source: White House / Eric Draper]President Bush stays in a classroom at the Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida, and listens to the students reading a story about a pet goat for five minutes, despite having just been told that the nation is under attack. (Paltrow 3/22/2004 pdf file; 9/11 Commission 7/24/2004, pp. 38-39) Bush has been in the classroom since 9:02 a.m., listening to 16 second graders demonstrating their reading skills (see 9:02 a.m. September 11, 2001). (Associated Press 8/25/2002; Sammon 10/8/2002) Andrew Card, his chief of staff, has just come into the room, and told him a second plane has crashed into the World Trade Center and America is under attack (see (9:07 a.m.) September 11, 2001). The teacher, Sandra Kay Daniels, now continues the reading demonstration, instructing the children: “At the count of three. Everyone should be on page 163.” The children then read a story called The Pet Goat, which is about a girl’s pet goat that protects the family home from a burglar. (Sammon 2002, pp. 83-85; Sammon 10/7/2002; Staff 7/2/2004; Trachtenberg 7/2/2004) Despite having just heard that the nation is under attack, Bush picks up his copy of the textbook and tries to follow along as the children read. (Barrs 9/1/2002; Sammon 10/7/2002) He will later explain why he stays where he is and listens to the rest of the reading demonstration, rather than leaving the classroom to go and respond to the attacks, writing: “I knew my reaction would be recorded and beamed throughout the world. The nation would be in shock; the president could not be. If I stormed out hastily, it would scare the children and send ripples of panic throughout the country.” (Bush 2010, pp. 127)
Bush Remains Composed - Bush is in fact surprisingly calm for the rest of the reading demonstration. He “maintained his composure and sent an image of calm to the nation,” White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, who is in the classroom at this time, will comment. (Fleischer 2005, pp. 140) “He didn’t change his facial expression; he didn’t show what obviously had to be nothing but alarm and concern,” Fleischer will say. (Fleischer 8/8/2002) “It was pretty amazing to me how he could not show any sign of panic,” White House photographer Eric Draper, who is also in the classroom, will comment. (Krueger 9/10/2002) A video recording of the event will show that Bush listens to the children reading The Pet Goat for five minutes. Finally, the children read the last line of the story, saying aloud, “More—to—come.” But even then, Bush will stay in the classroom for at least two more minutes, asking the children questions and talking briefly with the school’s principal (see (9:13 a.m.-9:15 a.m.) September 11, 2001). (Sammon 10/7/2002; Paltrow 3/22/2004 pdf file)

Bush’s motorcade on its way to the Sarasota airport.Bush’s motorcade on its way to the Sarasota airport. [Source: CBC]President Bush’s motorcade leaves the Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida, to take Bush and his entourage to Air Force One, but it initially heads in the wrong direction and has to turn around in order to proceed toward the airport. (Sammon 10/8/2002; Canadian Broadcasting Corporation 9/10/2006) Bush has just participated in a reading demonstration at the school (see 9:02 a.m. September 11, 2001) and given a brief statement to the nation in which he addressed the attacks on the World Trade Center (see 9:30 a.m. September 11, 2001). (White House 9/11/2001; Associated Press 8/25/2002) He now heads out of the school and gets into his limousine, which then speeds off to take him to his plane. (Sammon 2002, pp. 98-99; Rove 9/3/2013) Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, where Air Force One is waiting, is three and a half miles away from the school. (Paltrow 3/22/2004 pdf file; Morell 9/2006 pdf file) Bush’s motorcade drives there much faster than it normally travels. Whereas it usually goes at around 40 to 45 miles per hour, on this occasion the vehicles are driven at 80 to 85 miles per hour. (Rove 9/3/2013) However, it initially speeds off in the wrong direction and, after several kilometers, the vehicles have to perform a U-turn in order to head toward the airport. (9/11 Commission 6/17/2004; Canadian Broadcasting Corporation 9/10/2006) During the journey, Bush notices people at the sides of the road, smiling and waving at him, apparently unaware of the crisis that is taking place. (Sammon 2002, pp. 98) The Secret Service is concerned that he might be attacked on his way to the airport and provides a high level of security for him during the journey (see (Between (Between 9:35 a.m. and 9:43 a.m.) September 11, 2001). (BBC 9/1/2002; Rove 2010, pp. 251; Graff 9/9/2016) Bush will learn about the attack on the Pentagon while he is being driven to the airport (see (Between 9:38 a.m. and 9:43 a.m.) September 11, 2001). His motorcade will arrive at the airport between 9:42 a.m. and 9:45 a.m. (see (9:43 a.m.) September 11, 2001). (9/11 Commission 7/24/2004, pp. 39)


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