Republican strategist and former White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove broke down Friday as he recalled his own experience in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks.
Rove, who was with then President George W. Bush at the time, spoke of visiting Ground Zero in New York City and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where passengers had heroically fought back, forcing hijackers headed for the nation’s capital to crash in an empty field instead. (RELATED: Karl Rove Reveals What Stopped Bush’s Chief Of Staff In His Tracks Before He Told Bush About The Second Plane)
He began by explaining that every year, on the anniversary of the attacks, his former assistant Sue Ralston calls him at the same time she called him on that day.
Rove said that she told him that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center, adding, “I went over and told the president 10 or 15 feet away what had happened, and a few minutes later Condi Rice called with the same sketchy information.” Rove went on to say that this particular morning, he and Ralston spoke of the fact that even 19 years later, they could still remember every moment of that day — and a number of the days that followed.
“I remember going to that same site the president is today outside Shanksville, there was no memorial, it was a simple beautiful field scarred by a gigantic hole, and scattered everywhere were minute pieces of metal, all that was left of that aircraft that hit the earth with such violence it literally disintegrated,” Rove said.
His voice broke as he continued, “I remember meeting shortly after 9/11 in New York, the day the president stood atop a pile of rubble and rallied the country. A horrible moment in our life, the life of our country and we better realize that the people who did that still exist today and harbor in the center of their ideology a hatred of all that we in this country consider to be important to being an American: liberty, freedom, the right to choose our own direction in life. To go worship as we wish, to go about our business not directed in fear and anger but in freedom and joy, and it is a day we all ought to remember.”