Florida Teacher Recalls Moment President Bush Learned of 9/11 Attacks During Visit to Her Class

“The memory of it lingers in my mind and my heart. I am a part of it as well as it’s a part of me,” Sandra Daniels told Inside Edition. She says she still keeps in touch with the 16 students in her class that day.

When President George W. Bush first learned about the attacks on Sept. 11, he was in the middle of listening to a class of second graders during their reading lesson in Sarasota, Florida

Just after 9 a.m., the second plane had just crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center. Ms. Sandra Daniels was teaching second grade that day at Booker Elementary School. She’s now in her sixties and still teaching.

“The memory of it lingers in my mind and my heart. I am a part of it as well as it’s a part of me,” Daniels told Inside Edition.

The visit from the president was a big deal. The class had been planning for months, rehearsing their reading lesson, “The Pet Goat.”

Daniels vividly remembers the moment Bush’s chief of staff, Andy Card, walked up to whisper the terrible news in his ear: America is under attack.

“I’m thinking, ‘What happened?’ I’m thinking, ‘Did something happen with Mrs. Bush? Did something to the children?’ I would have never imagined what happened, actually happened,” Daniels said. 

Bush took a lot of heat for not immediately getting up and dealing with the crisis.

Lenard Rivers and January Towles were two of the students in the class that day. They are both now 27 years old. 

“We’ll never forget Mrs. Daniels and all the work that she did and all the love that she gave us,” Towles said. 

Seven minutes after the first whisper in his ear, Bush finally excused himself. He got a full briefing in another classroom, then addressed the nation.

“Terrorism against our nation will not stand,” Bush said.

Daniels says she is still in touch with the 16 kids in her classroom that day.

“They are jewels. I carry them in my heart. I love them, and they know that,” Daniels said.

Related Stories