Bush Comforted a Frightened Nation on 9/11[OPINION]
Anyone who experienced it will never forget September 11, 2001. It is one of those days that we will recall where we were, what we were doing and who we were with when we heard the news that American was under attack. We must never forget.
I was off that day. It was a beautiful sunny morning, and I was formulating my plan for the day over a second cup of coffee when I thought to turn on the television.
I remember worrying about the kids at school and my wife at work. Would they be ok? What might happen next was a mystery to all of us. Friends stopped in throughout the day to watch in silence. I didn't leave the TV for more than a few minutes at a time, and only when I absolutely had to.
My memories of two people in particular stick out in my mind all of these years later. The first is the late ABC News anchor Peter Jennings, and how he was able to remain so calm and collected through all of this--at least when the cameras were on. Peter later reported to being a mess off camera, but was determined to try and keep his audience from panicking, even though panic was justifiable given the events that were playing out all around us.
The other is former President George W. Bush. Bush was informed of the of the crisis at hand by Chief of Staff Andy Card while seated in front of a classroom of young children in Florida. Video of Bush's reaction reveals the gravity of the situation, but he was able to keep it under control long enough to complete the session without upsetting the kids.
There was a period of confusion that followed Bush's departure from the school.
The Secret Service prevented Bush from returning to Washington and, in fact, ferried him from one secure location to another before the Commander in Chief had finally had enough and demanded he be brought to the White House.
Bush addressed a terrified nation that evening. He also sought to comfort a worried world about whether America would survive the attacks and stay open for business. For weeks, the American people were on edge, not knowing what might happen next. George and Laura Bush were a calming influence during a time of fear and uncertainty.
Decisions made in the months and years that followed are certainly fair game for debate and will be ultimately judged by historians. But in the days that immediately followed the September 11th attacks, Bush filed the role of comforter in chief, and that is essential in a time of crisis.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.