In just a few days, Americans will mark the tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.
Then-president George W. Bush recently gave an interview to a National Geographic TV documentary of the September 11 events. During the interview Bush recalls that fateful day, his feelings when learning about America being attacked, and the subsequent decisions he made.
“I started my morning off with a morning run,” Bush recalls in the interview. “I got back and got my security briefing and I remember clearly how normal it seemed. There was nothing out of the ordinary.”
Bush, who was in a Florida classroom when he received word of the attacks, says, “My first reaction was anger.”
“We didn’t know if there were other planes that had been hijacked,” he adds. “So the first decision I made, on Air Force One, was to give our Air Force orders to shoot down commercial aircraft that did not respond. I was informed that a fourth plane, Flight 93, went down in a field in rural Pennsylvania and for a moment I thought that plane might have gone down because of the order I had given.”
Bush also admits in the interview that “I didn’t have a strategy. I was living day-by-day. I realized on September 11 I was a wartime president. On September 12, I acted in my duties as a wartime president.”
In the interview Bush also recalls the telephone call he received almost four months ago from his successor in the White House, Barack Obama, who told him that Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, the man responsible for the 9/11 attacks, had been killed by U.S. forces.
“I was in a restaurant in Dallas, eating dinner with Laura,” Bush says. “The Secret Service told me I had a phone call from the White House coming in. President Obama called me and told me that Osama bin Laden had been killed.
“I was grateful,” Bush recalls. “I didn’t feel a great sense of happiness or jubilation. I felt a sense of closure and I felt a sense of gratitude that justice had been done.”