Nearly a year after the U.S. National Archives released hundreds of photographs documenting Vice President Dick Cheney on September 11, 2001, FRONTLINE has obtained a collection of never-before-seen photos of President Bush on that day, taken by White House photographer Eric Draper.
The set, which was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the the Kirk Documentary Group, follows Bush on that day, starting with his visit to the Emma E. Brooker Elementary School in Sarasota, Fla, which is where he was informed of the attacks. Bush then addressed the nation from a holding room at the school, flew to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana on Air Force One, and met with senior advisers, including Karl Rove and Chief of Staff Andrew Card, before heading back to the White House.
At 8:30 p.m. that night, Bush addressed the nation from the Oval Office. You can watch the speech below:
The photos are appropriately somber, and Bush looks rather bewildered and overwhelmed in the face of crisis. "Capturing that story was difficult,” Draper, who was the president's personal photographer, told the website Storybench in an interview. “I had to focus on being in the right place at the right time and push back the emotions that I was feeling to truly capture the story. Everyone did their job that day and I knew my job was to have a crystal clear focus to document what was in front of me, for others to place it into history.”