‘We’re the Only Plane in the Sky’

‘We’re the Only Plane in the Sky’
by Garrett M. Graff
September 09, 2016

A wonderful recounting of one of the worst days in our nation’s history, told from a variety of perspectives. A true must-read…

A few thoughts I had while reading:

  • This is President George W. Bush’s chief of staff Andy Card:

    “I really think President Bush—I know President Bush took office on January 20, 2001—but the responsibility of being president became a reality when I whispered in his ear. I honestly believe as he contemplated what I said, I took an oath. Preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution. It’s not cutting taxes, it’s not No Child Left Behind, it’s not immigration, it’s the oath. When you pick a president, you want to pick a president who can handle the unexpected. This was the unexpected. That’s what the president was wrestling with that day. He recognized the cold reality of his responsibilities.”

    I can’t imagine Trump being a serious person. Not in the way that is needed to be the president. I just cannot. Believe me, my views of W. are easily noted as not being favorable, but I can absolutely see him as a serious man. I will miss that come late January. I am truly fearful of this.

  • As someone who loves (and prefers) wearing jeans, I do love this rule that Bush had for the White House:

    “Karen Hughes, communications director, White House: September 10th was my anniversary, so I had stayed back in Washington. I was scheduled to do a Habitat for Humanity event with [Secretary of Housing and Urban Development] Mel Martinez that required us to wear blue jeans. President Bush didn’t allow blue jeans in the West Wing, so I’d just planned to spend the morning at home.”

  • This is presidential:

    “[In 2011], the very first telephone call that President [Barack] Obama made after we were sure we’d killed Osama bin Laden was to President [George W.] Bush. President Obama knew that I’d been with him on 9/11, and so he asked me to fly down to Dallas after the raid to brief President Bush personally. I went down about two weeks later and walked President Bush through every aspect of the raid. I thought I could see in his face some sense of closure.”

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