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9/11 Kids: Documentary Features Children Reading With President Bush During Attack

President George W. Bush participates in a reading demonstration the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, at Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Fla.
President George W. Bush participates in a reading demonstration the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, at Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Fla. (Image via Federal Government)

“This film is about the 9/11 Generation and the American Dream.”

The 16 children that were with President George W. Bush when he learned of the 9/11 attacks are to be the subject of a new documentary.

Only six to seven years old when they were students at Emma E. Booker Elementary school in Sarasota, Florida that fateful day, they’ve all grown up and are set to appear in 9/11 Kids from Canada’s Documentary Channel.

The feature-length doc is produced by Saloon Media and will be distributed by Blue Ant International, which will be launching the doc at Realscreen 2019 in New Orleans. The film will debut nationwide in August 2019.

On September 11, 2001, then President George W. Bush was simply reading a book to young students who were chosen as some of the best readers at the school.

The event was videotaped because Bush was there to promote his education program, No Child Left Behind. While the president was reading, White House Chief of Staff Andy Card ran to the Commander in Chief and whispered “America is under attack.”

Bush’s reaction of shock and resolve—he maintained his composure in front of the children and kept reading—was recorded and became an unforgettable moment in history.

“The footage is utterly captivating to watch to this day,” said Steve Gamester, creator and producer of the new film. “The look of shock and anger on Bush’s face. Members of his staff and the press watching nervously. Meanwhile, the kids keep reading. It’s like watching history on pause, right before the storm.”

“This film is about the 9/11 Generation and the American Dream,” added Jordana Ross of Documentary Channel. “These children’s lives, like the country, were on one trajectory when they woke up that morning and by 9am everything had changed. 9/11 Kids provides a window into some of the most vital themes of the American experience: the spirit to succeed, issues of race and inequality, the state of public education and the impact of a national tragedy on the American psyche.”

Much like a typical reunion, the documentary will track down the kids who are in their mid-20s now, and find out what’s happened since.

The documentary will show how some of the kids have become remarkably successful, while others have fallen on hard times and the film follows their struggle to overcome shocking personal tragedies.

It will be interesting to hear these young adults reminisce about the day they witnessed history in their own classroom—particularly, what kind of impact it may have had on them and at such a young age.

2019 will also mark 18 years since 9/11, which bears another startling connotation: some adults today were born the same year of the attacks.

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