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Ahead Of 20th Anniversary, Florida Matters Looks At Tampa Bay Connection To 9/11

Sept 11 Saudi Lawsuit
Doug Mills
The Associated Press
Smoke billows from one of the towers of the World Trade Center and flames as debris explodes from the second tower in New York on Sept. 11, 2001.

On this week's episode, we recall President George W. Bush's visit to Sarasota on the day of the attacks, and hear from listeners about their memories of that day.

On this week’s Florida Matters, we look back at Sarasota’s connection to the 9/11 attacks.

We spend most of the episode hearing from WUSF’s Steve Newborn.

On September 11, he was at Emma Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, where President George W. Bush was scheduled to speak.

Bush first learned of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon while a class of second graders were reading a book to him.

Newborn said he expected his assignment that day to be “rote” because of his previous experience covering a presidential visit. It ended up being a historic visit; he was in the room when Bush gave his first comments about the attacks, saying “Terrorism against this nation will not stand.”

Newborn talked with passengers at the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport that afternoon, where President Bush left quickly abroad Air Force One. He also got reactions about the attacks from USF Tampa students and then-university president Judy Genshaft the next day.

Throughout the episode, we also feature four voicemails of listener memories of that day. We collected the voicemails over the past few weeks.

You can listen to Bradley’s full conversation with Newborn by clicking on the “Listen” button. Or you can listen to the WUSF app under “Programs & Podcasts.”

Here are a few of the voicemails we received:

Lizzie Brown, Sarasota
Angelina Lim, Tampa
Mary MacKenzie
Rebecca Geanaros, St. Petersburg

Hi there! I’m Dinorah Prevost and I’m the producer of Florida Matters, WUSF's weekly public affairs show. That basically means that I plan, record and edit the interviews we feature on the show.
Bradley George was a Morning Edition host and reporter at WUSF until March 2022.