Stunning photos show how George W Bush was told about the 9/11 attacks and how his White House responded

STUNNING photos show the moments after former President George W Bush was told about the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks while he was visiting children in a Florida school.

Friday, on the 19th anniversary of the attacks, a teacher and student who were in a classroom with Bush when he was informed about the World Trade Center recalled how the former president's whole demeanor changed.

Bush was in a second grade classroom at Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, reading with children when his chief of staff came in and whispered the horrific news to him.

Sandra Kay Daniels was the teacher in the class. She appeared on Today Friday and explained that the mood in the classroom abruptly changed.

"I knew something was wrong because that was not supposed to happen," she said.

"The mood went from we're having a great time, he's emotionally involved with the classroom, to him leaving us, spiritually, mentally, and physically."

Bush stayed in the room reading with students for a few more minutes before heading to an empty classroom in the school to watch coverage of the attacks on TV and to call former Vice President Dick Cheney and then-New York Gov George Pataki. 

The attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington and a flight that ended up crashing in a field in Pennsylvania killed nearly 3,000 Americans.

Moments after Bush was told about the attacks, he gave an address from the Sarasota school telling the public that there had been a terrorist attack.

The former president then boarded Air Force One to head back to Washington.

Bush addressed the nation from the Oval Office later that night, condemning the "acts of mass murder" that killed thousands of Americans and vowing that the country would not back down into "chaos and retreat."

"American was targeted for attack because we're the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world," he went on. "And no one will keep that light from shining."

"Today, our nation saw evil – the very worst of human nature – and we responded with the best of America. With the daring of our rescue workers, with the caring for strangers and neighbors who came to give blood and help in any way they could," Bush said.

He concluded his speech by imploring the American people to unite and vow to face down the enemy together.

"America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time," he said.

"None of us will ever forget this day, yet we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world."

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