Two Reuters reporters who traveled with President Bush on the morning of September 11, 2001 recall their experience of watching their leader reel from the most indelible event of the past decade. One, Arshad Mohammed, shouted a question to Bush as he was reading My Pet Goat to students in a Florida classroom: "Mr. President, are you aware of the reports of a plane crash in New York?"

Bush recently said in an interview with National Geographic that after after chief of staff Andy Card whispered to him, "America is under attack," he "made the decision to not jump up immediately and leave the classroom. I didn't want to rattle the kids. I wanted to project a sense of calm." However, Mohammed recounts how Bush's reaction at the time seemed incongruous with the gravity of the situation:

Caught off guard by the hijacked plane attacks, Bush gave an initially halting response, and spent the day flying across the country on Air Force One fleeing some unseen enemy instead of returning immediately to Washington, moves that raised doubts about his leadership in the tumult of the crisis.