The 9/11 Terrorist Attacks

The 9/11 terrorist attacks killed 2,977 people & changed the world as we knew it. President George W. Bush led the national response in the uncertain days after the attacks, comforted a grieving nation, và demonstrated to lớn the world the strength of American resolve.

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On September 11, 2001, the world watched as two jetliners slammed into new york City’s World Trade Center while another crashed into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. Passengers onboard a fourth airplane averted even more destruction by trying to lớn regain control of their airplane, which was intended to lớn hit either the white house nhà trắng or U.S. Capitol. As a result, the hijackers crashed it in a field outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

That morning, President George W. Bush was focused on an important part of his domestic agenda: education. 

President George W. Bush participates in a reading demonstration the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, at Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Fla. (P7060-19A).

President George W. Bush delivers remarks khổng lồ the nation regarding the terrorist attacks on U.S. Soil from Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida. (P7058-31A).

While listening to lớn second graders complete a reading lesson, President Bush was informed: “America is under attack.” Trying not khổng lồ alarm the children, President Bush listened khổng lồ the rest of the lesson then went to another classroom to lớn assess the situation. He then addressed the country.


Notes written by President George W. Bush for the initial statement lớn the press after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. (3 Page Document; 1 of 3). George W. Bush Presidential Library & Museum. ( P7058-31A).

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President Bush left Florida on Air Force One, gathering information and communicating with Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, thủ đô new york officials, và military advisors throughout the day.


President George W. Bush talks on the telephone, September 11, 2001, as senior staff huddle aboard Air Force One. (P7079-10)

Air Force One landed at two military bases, where President Bush received intelligence, coordinated a national response, & addressed the nation. "Make no mistake: The United States will hunt down and punish those responsible for these cowardly acts," said the President.

President George W. Bush delivers remarks on the terrorist attacks, September 11, 2001, from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, before departing for Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. (P7078-04)

President Bush was determined to lớn return lớn the white House, so Air Force One flew back to lớn Washington, DC. President Bush met with his senior staff & then addressed a frightened nation from the Oval Office.

In the days following September 11th, President Bush assessed the damage in Washington và New York, directed military và civilian response efforts, acknowledged the work of first responders, & comforted a grieving nation. 

President George W. Bush greets rescue workers, firefighters & military personnel, September 12, 2001, while surveying damage caused by the previous day's terrorist attacks on the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. (P7234-21)

From our artifact collection: United States flag that flew on the Healing Field Memorial at the September 11, 2008 dedication of the Pentagon 911 Memorial.

Tapping on the desk hewn from the timbers of the H.M.S. Resolute, President George W. Bush makes the stand in the Oval Office, September 13, 2001. "Make no mistake about it, my resolve is steady và strong about winning this war that has been declared on America." 

President George W. Bush taps on the desk made from the timbers of the H.M.S. Resolute during his speech from the Oval Office, September 13, 2001. (P7280-23)
During the newly proclaimed National Day of Prayer & Remembrance, President George W. Bush addresses the congregation & the nation, September 14, 2001, at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. (P7347-15)

President George W. Bush was joined at the National Cathedral by former Presidents Ford, Carter, Bush, và Clinton for the National Day of Prayer và Remembrance on September 14, 2001. Members of Congress, the Cabinet, the Washington diplomatic community, và prominent religious leaders were also in attendance.

Program from the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance service held at the Washington National Cathedral on September 14, 2001.

When President George W. Bush first visited thủ đô new york City three days after the attacks, he was astonished by the horror of the scene: “As we approached Ground Zero, I felt like I was entering a nightmare. There was little light. Smoke hung in the air mixed with suspended particles of debris, creating an eerie gray curtain…They had hit us harder than I comprehended.” (Decision Points, p. 148) 

Standing atop a crumpled fire truck with retired thủ đô new york City fireman Bob Beckwith on September 14, 2001, President Bush rallies rescue workers during an impromptu speech at Ground Zero saying, "I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. & the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon." 

President Bush standing atop a crumpled fire truck with retired new york City fireman Bob Beckwith, September 14, 2001. (P7365-23A)

From our artifact collection: The Fanon MP-5 bullhorn President George W. Bush used to speak to lớn the first responders working at Ground Zero when he visited thủ đô new york City on September 14, 2001. DO.203303 

The Fanon MP-5 bullhorn President George W. Bush used lớn speak to the first responders working at Ground Zero.
Rallying around President George W. Bush's visit to thủ đô new york City, September 14 2001, rescue workers cheer và chant. (P7377-06)
President George W. Bush consoles families of victims of the World Trade Center disaster during a visit to thành phố new york City, September 14, 2001. (P7384-09)

As the nation moved from shock to lớn anger in the days after 9/11, President Bush emphasized that the attacks were conducted by extremist terrorists, and did not represent the Islamic religion. 

President George W. Bush talks with community leaders, September 17, 2001, after touring the Islamic Center of Washington, D.C. (P7455-10)

Calls from world leaders offering support came in within hours of the attacks, & gifts & messages of condolence from people around the world (especially schoolchildren) poured in the following days and weeks. 

From our artifact collection: Homemade card, two pieces of white poster board taped together. Front has màu sắc printed Scotland & US flags on crossed poles drawn in black marker against field of red cardstock glued khổng lồ poster board. Inside has several signatures và messages of condolence from the "Safe Til Six" After School Club, The Salvation Army, Falkirk, Scotland. 2019.28.91 

On September 20, 2001, President Bush addressed a joint session of Congress, the nation, và the world, saying “In the normal course of events, presidents come khổng lồ this chamber to lớn report on the state of the union. Tonight, no such report is needed; it has already been delivered by the American people...My fellow citizens, for the last nine days, the entire world has seen for itself the state of union, and it is strong.” 

"...I will carry this," said President Bush during a joint session of Congress, September 20, 2001. "It is the police shield of a man named George Howard, who died at the World Trade Center trying lớn save others. ...This is my reminder of lives that ended, and a task that does not end." 

President George W. Bush holds the badge of a Port Authority Police officer killed in the September 11 attacks. (P7616-14a.)
Standing in the Oval Office, October 15, 2001, President George W. Bush holds the badge of a police officer killed in the September attacks. (P8576-12a)

In the days that followed the attacks, President Bush encouraged Americans to lớn go back to lớn work, và to defeat terrorism by resuming their lives. The next month, 55,820 baseball fans packed thành phố new york City’s Yankee Stadium khổng lồ watch their hometown team play the Arizona Diamondbacks in the World Series. President Bush took khổng lồ the mound khổng lồ throw the first pitch. It was a strike.

President George W. Bush gives a thumbs-up, October 30, 2001, as he stands on the mound at Yankee Stadium before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch in trò chơi Three of the World Series. (P9154-07)

Despite the tragic loss of life and destruction, the nation grew in strength & unity. More than a decade after the terrorist attacks, the effects of September 11th have been complex & far-reaching; however, President Bush’s words from that evening’s Oval Office address hold true: “Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot cảm biến the foundation of America. These acts shattered steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.”

9/11: The Steel of American Resolve

The George W. Bush Presidential Library & Museum has more resources on the terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001.