A moment of sadness and resolve

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After an emotional night of candlelight vigils in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 12, 2001, I decided to focus on the activities of President George W. Bush the next day. His schedule didn't show him making any public appearances until that afternoon. But playing a hunch, I went to the White House early that morning. Sure enough, the president was to call New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and New York Gov. George Pataki from the Oval Office. About 15 of the press corps, mostly photographers, were led in as Bush made the call. He commended the men for their leadership under unimaginable circumstances. Then he stood to answer a few questions. Bush spoke forcefully about his determination to seek justice. When Monitor reporter Francine Kiefer asked him about his thoughts and prayers, Bush responded that his thoughts were with the families and children. Emotion washed over his face, and he choked back tears. Quickly switching to a camera with a close-up lens, I concentrated my focus on the president's face: That told the story. It was a powerful moment; his reaction mirrored the sadness and resolve so many Americans were feeling. As I left the White House, I kept repeating, "That was amazing." Witnessing such a moment from the most powerful leader in the world is something I will not forget.

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