9/11 anniversary: Photos taken in the aftermath show poignant side of President George W Bush
President George W Bush was a divisive figure in America after the 9/11 terror attacks, but newly-released images show how deeply affected he was by the attacks
September 11, 2001 will forever mark a somber day in America's history irrelevant of how many years, decades, or centuries have passed since the horrifying day. Today marks the 17th anniversary of the Osama Bin Laden-orchestrated terrorist attacks on New York's iconic twin towers of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and what was supposed to be Washington DC but ended up being Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
The four coordinated attacks that were set off by 19 Al-Qaeda terrorists who hijacked American Airlines Flight 11, American Airlines Flight 77, United Airlines Flight 175, and United Airlines Flight 93, and would resulted in the deaths of 2,996 people and injured over 6,000 others.
It was, and still remains, the deadliest terror attack in human history, causing at least $10 billion in infrastructure and property damage and further resulting in the deaths of several hundred more in the years since because of 9/11-related cancer and respiratory diseases.
America's desire for vengeance, and to right perceived wrongs, pushed them to declare the 'War on Terrorism.' The hunt for the elusive Al-Qaeda supremo saw the country invade Afghanistan and several thousands of its soldiers perish fighting insurgents, putting further strain on an already fractured relationship between the people and the government. At the center of all of this was one man: President George W Bush.
On the day, Bush was participating in a reading demonstration at the Emma E Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida, when he was rushed to an empty classroom to be briefed on the situation as it unfolded. And while he went on to become quite a divisive figure in the country, as well as the world — one will recall the infamous slipper throwing incident — it's fair to say he doesn't deserve to be at the end of conspiracy theories that speculate he orchestrated the attacks for profit. It's unseemly and disrespectful.
Even more so when you gaze through the pictures that depict his days in the months following the attacks.
The George W Bush Presidential Library released a collection of images that showcase the commander-in-chief at his candid best, and we've collected a few that reveal the trials and tribulations he underwent during one of America's most difficult hours:
President George W. Bush participating in a reading demonstration on the morning of September 11, 2001, at Emma E Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida.
The Director of Communications Dan Bartlett points to news footage of the World Trade Center Towers burning as the president gathers information about the attack from an isolated classroom at the Emma E Booker Elementary School.
President George W Bush delivers remarks from the Emma E Booker Elementary School following the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York.
Bush speaks with the White House Chief of Staff Andy Card aboard Air Force One on the day of the attacks.
After departing Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, President George W Bush confers with Vice President Dick Cheney from Air Force One on September 11, 2001 during the flight to Andrews Air Force Base.
President George W Bush reviews his statement with Karen Hughes, Counselor to the President on September 11, 2001 before addressing the nation from the Oval Office.
President George W Bush greets rescue workers, firefighters, and military personnel on September 12, 2001 while surveying damage caused by the previous day's terrorist attacks on the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia.
Led in prayer by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, right, President George W Bush joins his Cabinet as they bow their heads on September 14, 2001 before beginning their meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House.
President George W Bush embraces a firefighter at the site of the World Trade Center on September 14, 2001 during his visit to New York City.
Standing upon the ashes of the terrorist attacks upon the World Trade Center with retired firefighter Bob Beckwith from Ladder 117, President George W Bush waves an American flag on September 14, 2001, after addressing recovery workers in New York City.
President George W Bush consoles families of victims of the World Trade Center disaster during a visit to New York City on September 14, 2001.
President George W Bush talks with Arlene Howard on September 14, 2001, as he greets family members of victims of the World Trade Center disaster in New York City. Howard presented the President with the police badge found on the body of her son, Port Authority Police Officer George Howard.
President George W Bush walks through Cross Hall to the East Room of the White House to give a press conference on October 11, 2001.