Monday, August 29, 2011

The National Geographic Television interview with President Bush...

...was outstanding.

I learned a nugget or two about the 9/11 attacks that I had not known (President and Mrs. Bush and their dogs were rushed to a secure bunker in the White House on the night of Sept. 11, 2001 after an Air Force pilot inadvertently had set his transponder to the wrong frequency as he flew over Washington), but I was impressed by the images to which the filmmaker had access.

The still photos of Mr. Bush flying over the Pentagon and New York City in the aftermath of the attacks provided stark evidence of a man who shared the disbelief, the pain and the uncertainty that Americans also felt.

The still photos of Mr. Bush inside Air Force One as he traveled from Florida, Louisiana, Nebraska and finally Washington on Sept. 11 also showed snippets of a man working with his staff to formulate any kind of response to what had taken place in New York, Washington and western Pennsylvania.

The video images -- especially of Mr. Bush exiting Air Force One after it had brought him home -- also left me stunned by what the filmmaker had available to him.

I don't know if National Geographic Television intends to air the program again, but you can access video and photos from the link provided in this sentence.

Historians, critics and others will dissect the program more carefully than I have for its content, what was said, what was omitted, what was new information and what was contradictory. I'll be interested in reading those. But for me, as someone with a television background, the images aided the story that was told. And told well.

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