Retired teacher says he met President Bush at a Florida school on September 11

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SARASOTA

A teacher remembers waiting for President Bush to arrive in her school’s media center on September 11.

September 11 has always been a special day for Patricia Varley. She was a teacher at Emma E. Booker Elementary School. “It was my son’s birthday, September 11, and I say it was because we don’t celebrate it anymore,” Varley said.

“How can you celebrate a life when so many have lost their lives? Varley said.

The significance of September 11, 2001 changed us all. Varley saw firsthand how September 11 changed history and changed America. “I’ve never met a president before and everyone was excited. And it was… it was really exciting, ”Varley said.

Excitement filled Emma Booker Primary School on September 11. President George W. Bush read to a class of children. Varley, school staff and students patiently waited for the President to stop at the media center.

“We were told he wasn’t going to come in right away. You know, go do something else for a while when he comes in, he’ll talk to us, ”Varley said.

But, they had no idea that something that would later change history had just happened. “We didn’t know we didn’t know anything. What happened, we actually didn’t know anything until he came to talk to us, ”she said.

The first time President Bush addressed the country about the attack was from the media center at Emma Booker Elementary School. “Today we have experienced a national tragedy. Two planes crashed into the World Trade Center in an apparent terrorist attack on our country, ”President Bush said.

Varley was standing inches away when the announcement was made. “The hardest part has been every emotion you can think of going through your head into your body, and you want to cry, you want to scream, you don’t know what you want to do,” Varley said.

WINK News asked Patricia if she was concerned that Booker Elementary was also targeted since the president was there recently. “We have certainly thought about it. But then we really thought they probably knew the president would be gone, ”Varley said.

“My heart is still heavy. I still feel so much sorrow for the people who lost their lives and the people who lost those people, ”Varley said.

It taught him not to sweat the little things, to keep loved ones close to him. And, more importantly, that you can find yourself in the story when you least expect it.


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