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Laura Bush opens National Book Festival with passage on 9/11
Reading from her book, Bush recalled the morning of September 11, 2001.

She was headed to Capitol Hill to testify before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on early childhood development.

The planes struck the World Trade Center while she was en route and as she arrived at the Russell Senate Office Building the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) greeted her. As the news footage of the smoking buildings shone on the television in his office, Kennedy gave Bush a tour of the workplace he had inhabited for years, she said.

“My skin was starting to crawl,” Bush read. “I wanted to leave to find out what was going on, to process what I was seeing. But I felt trapped in an endless cycle of pleasantries. It did not occur to me to say, ‘Senator Kennedy, what about the towers?’ I simply followed his lead.”

“And he may have feared that if we actually began to contemplate what had happened in New York I might dissolve into tears.”

After the third plane hit the Pentagon, Bush was whisked to the Secret Service’s headquarters where she would stay until reuniting with President Bush in Washington D.C. later that evening.

Bush also spoke of meeting female political candidates in Kuwait, women who had their fingernails pulled out by the Taliban in Afghanistan for wearing nail polish, and heroic aid workers in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.

“In my book I wanted to give voice to all of these remarkable people,” she said.

Bush said she’s reading the novel “Cutting for Stone” by Abraham Verghese released last year, and that she just finished reading “My Name is Mary Sutter,” a work of historical fiction by Robin Oliveira.

She said President George W. Bush is reading “Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy” by Eric Metaxas, a biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German Lutheran pastor who was a leader in the German Resistance movement against the Nazis.
"Where is the intersection between the world's deep hunger and your deep gladness?"

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