Remembering September 11, 2001.
8:50 a.m. — President George W. Bush’s advisers inform him of the crash while he was at Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Fla. He was there to promote his education reform package.
Reporters traveling with the president said he “was not visibly fazed” when he greeted the students. Bush, like many Americans, initially thought the first crash was an accident.
8:52 a.m. — United Airlines ground operators learn from a flight attendant’s call that one of their planes — Flight 175, also en route from Boston to Los Angeles — has been hijacked.
Passengers aboard the flight call loved ones at home, like Brian Sweeney, who left this voicemail for his wife, Julie:
“Jules, this is Brian. Listen, I’m on an airplane that’s been hijacked. If things don’t go well, and it’s not looking good, I just want you to do good, go have good times, same to my parents and everybody. And I just totally love you, and I’ll see you when you get there. Bye, babe. I hope I call you.”
9:03 a.m. — United Flight 175 hits the South Tower of the World Trade Center between floors 77 and 85 at more than 500 mph. Sixty-five people were on board.
A friend of mine frequently took flight 175 from Boston to L.A. He didn’t that week because he had been attending an anniversary celebration in Arkansas, and traveled from there directly to L.A.
9:05 a.m. — White House chief of staff Andrew Card interrupts Bush during a reading exercise with a group of second-graders to tell him of the second crash. The now-historic moment was caught on camera, and Card whispers into Bush’s ear, “Mr. President, a second plane has crashed into the World Trade Center. America is under attack.”
It was after the South Tower was hit that we all knew it was terrorism. The terror wasn’t over yet.