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The Interrupted Reading: The Kids with George Bush on 9/11

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  • The Interrupted Reading: The Kids with George Bush on 9/11

    The Interrupted Reading: The Kids with George Bush on 9/11



    Tuesday, May 03, 2011



    There has rarely been a starker juxtaposition of evil and innocence than the moment President George W. Bush received the news about 9/11 while reading The Pet Goat with second-graders in Sarasota, Florida.

    Seven-year-olds can't understand what Islamic terrorism is all about. But they know when an adult's face is telling them something is very wrong — and none of the students sitting in Sandra Kay Daniels' class at Emma E. Booker Elementary School that morning can forget the sudden, devastated change in Bush's expression when White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card whispered the terrible news of the Al Qaeda attack.

    Lazaro Dubrocq's heart started racing because he assumed they were all in big trouble — with no less than the Commander-in-Chief — but he wasn't quite sure why. "In a heartbeat he leaned back and he looked flabbergasted, shocked, horrified," recalls Dubrocq, now 17. "I was baffled. I mean, did we read something wrong? Was he mad or disappointed in us?"

    All sorts of similar kid fears started running through Mariah Williams' head. "I don't remember the story we were reading — was it about pigs?" says Williams, 16. "But I'll always remember watching his face turn red. He got really serious all of a sudden. But I was clueless. I was just seven. I'm just glad he didn't get up and leave because then I would have been more scared and confused." Chantal Guerrero, 16, agrees: even today she's grateful that Bush regained his composure and stayed with the students until The Pet Goat was finished. "I think the President was trying to keep us from finding out," says Guerrero, "so we all wouldn't freak out."

    Even if they didn't freak out, it's apparent that sharing the terrifying Tuesday of 9/11 with Bush has affected those second-graders in the decade since — and, they say, made the news of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's killing by U.S. commandos on Sunday all the more meaningful. Dubrocq, now a junior at Riverview High School in Sarasota, doubts he'd be a student in the rigorous IB, or international baccalaureate program, if he hadn't been with the President as one of history's most infamous global events unfolded. "Because of that," he says, "I came to realize as I grew up that the world is a much bigger place, and that there are differing opinions about us out there, not all of them good."

    Guerrero, today a junior at the Sarasota Military Academy, believes the experience "has since given us all a better understanding of the situation, sort of made us take it all more seriously. At that age I couldn't understand how anyone could take innocent lives that way. And I still of course can't. But today I can problem-solve it all a lot better, maybe better than other kids because I was kind of part of it."

    Williams, also a junior at the military academy, says those 9/11 moments spent with Bush conferred on the kids a sort of historical authority as they grew up in Sarasota. "Today, when we talk about 9/11 in class and you hear kids make mistakes about what happened with the President that day, I can tell them they're wrong. Because I was there." One thing they'd like to tell Bush's critics — like liberal filmmaker Michael Moore, whose 2004 documentary Fahrenheit 911 disparaged Bush for lingering almost 10 minutes with the Booker students after getting word that two planes had crashed into New York's World Trade Center — is that they think the President did the right thing. "I think he was trying to keep everybody calm, starting with us," says Guerrero.

    Dubrocq agrees: "I think he was trying to protect us." Booker Principal Gwendolyn Tose'-Rigell, who died in 2007, later insisted, "I don't think anyone could have handled it better. What would it have served if [Bush] had jumped out of his chair and ran out of the room?"


    When the children's story was done, Bush left for the school's library, where he discussed the New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania nightmare with aides, reporters and another group of students waiting for him. Back in the classroom, Daniels brought in a television and turned on the first bewildering images of the Twin Towers in flames and smoke. At that point the kids started connecting the dots. "It was pretty scary," says Williams, "and I remember thinking, So that's why the President looked so mad."

    Dubrocq got mad himself. "But I had to wait a few years before I could digest what had really happened and why they attacked us," he says. "I of course grew up to have nothing but contempt for Osama bin Laden."

    Yet he adds the episode "motivated me to get a better handle on the world and to want to help improve the world." It also made Dubrocq, who wants to study international business, more aware of his own multinational roots — he's French and Cuban on his father's side and Spanish and Mexican on his mother's. Not surprisingly, he also wants to learn other languages, like Chinese and, in an echo of his 9/11 memories, perhaps even Arabic.

    Williams says she also hated Bin Laden more as she grew up and gained a better appreciation of how fanatics had changed her world on 9/11. "All that just because he wanted to control everybody in the world, control how we think and what we do," she says. Williams doesn't plan to pursue a military career — she wants to be a veterinarian — but the military academy student was impressed by the Navy SEAL raid in Pakistan that killed Bin Laden: "I was shocked — I thought after 10 years they'd never find him. But what the SEALs did, it, like, gives me even more respect for that kind of training."

    Guerrero, in fact, may as well be part of that training. She also plans a civilian life — she hopes to study art and musical theater — but she's a Junior ROTC member and part of her school's state champion Raiders team, which competes against other academies in contests like rope bridge races, map navigation and marksmanship. In other words, the same sort of skills the SEAL commandos have to master.

    She admits to feeling an added rush when she woke up to Monday morning's news: the SEALs operation, she says, "was very, very cool."

    More than cool, Guerrero says, it was also "so reassuring, after a whole decade of being scared about these things." Most of all, it "brought back a flood of memories" of their tragic morning with a President — memories that prove kids can carry a lot heavier stuff in those plastic backpacks than adults often realize.




    http://www.time.com/time/nation/arti...ml?xid=fbshare

  • #2
    Nice article. Very journalistic.
    Pete Malloy, "The only thing black and white about this job is the car."

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    • #3
      Originally posted by OneAdam12 View Post
      Nice article. Very journalistic.
      Amazing it came from Time..... Though, I've got a friend that works for them and I chuckle at some of the stuff she writes because as she gets older....she starts to get wiser and leans more right.....

      Comment


      • #4
        I couldnt read all of the story, so if this was addressed, I apologize. W gets a lot of crap for "just sitting there for a few minutes"....nobody realizes that its because he just got info the "a plane" struck the WTC..NOT a terrorist attack was taking place. When it turned out to be something more than "just a plane hitting WTC", then he hopped up. That always bothered me that he got crap when he didnt have all the info yet
        "I don't go on "I'maworthlesscumdumpster.com" and post negative **** about cum dumpsters."
        The Tick

        "Are you referring to the secret headquarters of a fictional crime fighter or penal complex slang for a-$$hole, anus or rectum?"
        sanitizer

        "and we all know you are a poser and a p*ssy.... "
        Bearcat357 to Dinner Portion/buck8/long relief

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        • #5
          It kind of surprises me that the school let the 7 year olds watch what was going on. I was thirteen at the time and the school district said no student in Middle or Elementary school could watch it.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Hokie13 View Post
            It kind of surprises me that the school let the 7 year olds watch what was going on. I was thirteen at the time and the school district said no student in Middle or Elementary school could watch it.
            I was in Elementary school at the time and most of the classes had the TV on.
            Life is what you make of it

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            • #7
              I was in 5th grade and all the teachers had it on the tv's all day. Supposedly flight 93 flew over my city.
              Been chatting to a girl online. She's funny, sexy and flirty. Now she tells me she is an undercover cop! How cool is that at her age!?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by crass cop View Post
                I couldnt read all of the story, so if this was addressed, I apologize. W gets a lot of crap for "just sitting there for a few minutes"....nobody realizes that its because he just got info the "a plane" struck the WTC..NOT a terrorist attack was taking place. When it turned out to be something more than "just a plane hitting WTC", then he hopped up. That always bothered me that he got crap when he didnt have all the info yet
                Actually, what he was thinking was this..."What the hell was the name of that memo? Oh yeah...Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US. Bah, there couldn't be a connection."
                ...hunter of the shadows is rising...

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                • #9
                  I seem to recall a baseball player learning to fly or who just got his license flew into a NYC blg some time ago, I believe....was he al-quaeda??? a minion of osama bin laden?

                  Without ALL information the situation is still unclear...when he got more info, he reacted.
                  PLUS....hes got people.......should he of jumped up and walked over to his people and stood there for a few minutes until they got more info? or should he have continued to listen to the book reading until he had all information and then reacted? No need to react until you have the correct info
                  "I don't go on "I'maworthlesscumdumpster.com" and post negative **** about cum dumpsters."
                  The Tick

                  "Are you referring to the secret headquarters of a fictional crime fighter or penal complex slang for a-$$hole, anus or rectum?"
                  sanitizer

                  "and we all know you are a poser and a p*ssy.... "
                  Bearcat357 to Dinner Portion/buck8/long relief

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by FromOhio View Post
                    I was in 5th grade and all the teachers had it on the tv's all day. Supposedly flight 93 flew over my city.
                    Me and Bearcat's are still in da' 3rd grade....

                    We like da' Jungle Jim....



                    He pees in da' sandbox sometimes.

                    But i neva' say nutt'in...

                    See?, He just'ed peed' again!!


                    Originally posted by mookster
                    Sully, usually I hafta glance over your posts cuz my brain would have issues with the imagery you portray, however with that one I get it. I agree one hundred percent with ya.
                    Originally posted by CityCopDC
                    I swear to god you are not human. I know a rogue VI when I see one.
                    Originally posted by OfficerDotCom
                    I think no one is probably happier than Sully and I that we ARE NOT the same person.(seriously thanking God for that one).
                    -Frank




                    Old Physicists neva' die, they just hop on a horsey and fly away inta' an infinitely massive black ho ...

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