The morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, was clear and crisp as the sun crept over New York City for the beginning of yet another busy work day. Everyone hurrying to get to where they needed to be, some late to work, others making their journey up the seemingly countless floors of the twin towers, better know as the World Trade Center — no one aware of the tragedy that was about to befall on them.
Then, at 8:45 am EST, the first plane hit the north tower. At 9:03 am EST, the second plane hit the south tower. At 9:43 am EST a third plane hit the Pentagon. A fourth plane, Flight 93, because of the brave passengers on board, never reached its hijacked destination and was brought down in a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, at 10:10 am EST.
The nation felt helpless, under attack, waiting for leadership to take action. President Bush was in Florida reading to school children when the attacks took place, so in his place Vice President Cheney played a major role in the first actions taken on that dreadful day, putting together the first response.
The White House was evacuated, all air travel was stopped, and the world watched as the towers fell and all our collective hearts were broken.
Another person watching the twin towers that day was Vice President Cheney. In never-before-seen photos just released by The U.S. National Archives, it shows the first reactions from the White House.
Leaning back in his chair, with his foot up on the desk, Cheney gazed upon the most horrific domestic attack the United States has ever experienced on a small television inside his office.
These pictures were released on Friday by the U.S. National Archives for Colette Neirouz Hanna under the Freedom of Information Act. Neirouz is the coordinating producer for the Kirk Documentary Group, most known for their work on Frontline, a PBS documentary series.
Other photos include more pictures of Cheney from his office, then at work on the phone and coordinating with senior administration officials and staff, including then National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, from the President’s Emergency Operations Center (PEOC).
You can also see CIA Director George Tenet listening to President Bush address the nation.
Other images show President Bush in the secure bunker of the White House alongside his senior staff upon his return from Florida.
As well as seemingly very frustrated and upset Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Later, Vice President Cheney and his wife Lynne were brought to Camp David aboard Marine Two.
Seeing these images for the first time ever, many Americans will get a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes actions the White House took on the dreadful day. Seeing Vice President Cheney as the man in charge, to be honest, is nauseating. Watching him kick back as the towers fell is infuriating.
If you’d like to see the full collection of the photos, they can be found HERE.
All images via The U.S. National Archives (Flickr)