President Bush's Travels on 9/11
- President George W. Bush arrives at Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida and is informed of the first airplane crashing into the World Trade Center by chief of staff Andrew Card.
- While preparing for a photo op with a second grade class, chief of staff Andrew Card gives President Bush news of the second crash.
- President Bush is briefed by National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice.
- President Bush makes a short statement
- President Bush leaves Sarasota Bradenton International Airport onboard Air Force One. His destination is kept secret for security.
. - President Bush calls Vice President Dick Chaney and puts the American military on high-alert status.
- President Bush arrives at Barksdale Air Force Base near Shreveport, Louisiana.
- President Bush makes his second statement
of the day from Barksdale Air Force Base near Shreveport, Louisiana.
- President Bush leaves Barksdale Air Force Base.
- President Bush arrives at U.S. Strategic Air Command at Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, Nebraska.
- President Bush leaves Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, Nebraska.
- President Bush arrives at the White House.
- PresidentBush addresses
the nation from the Oval Office.
- President Bush attends a national security meeting.
- The national security meetings ends and President Bush heads to bed.
Following his departure from Sarasota, Florida, it was expected the President George W. Bush was returning to Washington, D.C. Instead, reporters onboard Air Force One were ordered not to even turn their cell phones on to prevent tracking. They were also advised that they would be climbing to 40,000 feet and would be escorted by jets.
Unknown to them and the rest of the country, a debate was taking place. President Bush's political advisors wanted him to return to Washington as a show of leadership, while the Secret Service wanted him to stay away, because it was still unsafe. Bush ordered the plane to land at Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport, Louisiana. The press pool were not allowed to make phone calls until locals noticed the plane on the runway. Nearly an hour after arriving, President Bush made his second statement of the day.
After departing from Barksdale, the debate continued. The Secret Service wanted him to fly to Colorado Springs where NORAD's underground bunker was located, while his political advisors were saying that he was looking weak, especially while Vice President Dick Chaney was still in Washington. By this time, the national news networks had started criticizing Bush for not being at the White House.
At mid-afternoon, President Bush landed at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, where the headquarters of the Strategic Air Command are located. Finally, at nearly five o'clock, President Bush departed for Washington. Information on his arrival in the Washington area was kept secret and he arrived at the White House just before 7:00 P.M. President Bush and the Secret Service were vindicated about 24 hours later, when it was announced that legitimate intelligence had indicated that Air Force One was a target.