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9:43 a.m. September 11, 2001: President Bush Reaches Sarasota Airport and Boards Air Force One

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President Bush’s motorcade arrives at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport Wikipedia.png, racing across the tarmac there and pulling up close to Air Force One. Bush ascends the stairs by the left wing onto the plane. [1] He pauses in the doorway to wave to photographers. The St. Petersburg Times will later note that this raises “further questions about security [on 9/11].” [2] Meanwhile, 13 members of the press, and others such as congressmen Dan Miller and Adam Putnam Wikipedia.png, hurry onto the plane through its rear entrance. [3] Secret Service agents with dogs hurriedly check people’s luggage. . [4]Even White House employees who are wearing special lapel pins identifying themselves as such have their belongings checked by the bomb-sniffing dogs. According to journalist and author Bill Sammon Wikipedia.png, the mood is “extraordinarily tense.” A military aide snaps: “We gotta hurry up and get out of here. Let’s go!”. [5] Secret Service agents are yelling, “Move it, move it, move it!”[6] But White House chief of staff Andrew Card Wikipedia.png is reportedly “frustrated because so many guests [have] come on the plane and [are] delaying the takeoff.” . [7] Air Force One will not take off until about 9:56 [see 1]. [8]

  1. [SAMMON, 2002, PP. 98-99; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 39]
  2. [ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 7/4/2004]
  3. [SARASOTA MAGAZINE, 9/19/2001; BBC, 9/1/2002]
  4. [ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 9/8/2002]
  5. [SAMMON, 2002, PP. 99]
  6. [BBC, 9/1/2002]
  7. [ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 9/8/2002]
  8. [WASHINGTON POST, 1/27/2002]


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