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Tuesday, Sep 02, 2014

George W. Bush Reveals Thoughts on 9/11 Attacks for First Time

  • U.S. President George W Bush speaks to the press at Fort Hood army base in Texas, April 11, 2004. Bush, along with his family attended an Easter Sunday Church service at a chapel within the army base in central Texas. (REUTERS/Jason Reed)
August 24, 2011|4:55 pm

As the nation prepares to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the National Geographic Channel will be premiering a documentary that features an exclusive interview with George W. Bush in which the former president discusses his experiences on Sept. 11, 2001.

In the interview, to air Sunday, Aug. 28 at 10 p.m., Bush discusses for the first time on camera his perspective on the deadly 2001 terrorist attacks against the United States that occurred during his tenure in the executive office.

Entitled "George W. Bush: The 9/11 Interview," the program is described as an in-depth interview in which the former president "recalls what he was thinking and feeling and what drove the real-time, life-or-death decisions he faced in the first minutes, hours and days" after the attacks.

The former commander-in-chief was interviewed over a period of two days by Peter Schnall, the program's executive producer and director.

Schnall conducted the interview in May, after President Barack Obama had announced that al-Qaida chief and 9/11 plotter Osama bin Laden had been killed.

"I asked him what his reaction was; closure, he said. Not relief or jubilation, just that he knew this day would come," Schnall told reporters in July. "In total, I interviewed him for four to five hours across two consecutive days."

Bush was also asked about the iconic moment captured by television cameras in which he was made aware of a second plane crashing into New York City's World Trade Center as he sat before a group of kindergarten students in Sarasota, Fla.

"The classroom was full of kids who were reading, and in the back of the classroom was a full press corp," Bush recalls in the interview. "And I'm intently listening to the lesson, and I felt a presence behind me...[telling me] a second plane has hit the towers. America is under attack."

Schnall told reporters, "This film, if anything, is (Bush's) 10-year look in the rear-view mirror, at his life and at an event that, without a doubt, changed his presidency, as it changed our lives, as well."

The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks claimed nearly 3,000 lives.

National Geographic's "Remembering 9/11" documentary kicks of this Sunday at 7 p.m., with Bush's hour-long interview airing at 10 p.m. EST.

The interview will also air in September in the U.K. and Canada.

Here is a preview clip from "George W. Bush: The 9/11 Interview":

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