Bush offers recollections of the 2001 terrorist attacks in an extensive interview that serves as the centerpiece for a National Geographic Channel documentary. "George W. Bush: The 9/11 Interview" will debut on Aug. 28.
Bush talks about learning of the attack when the news was whispered in his ear during a visit to a Florida school, and weighing how he would respond. Along with his responsibilities as president, he had some of the same worries as many other Americans that day.
"One of my concerns, like the concerns of other husbands and wives, was, `Was my spouse OK? Was Laura OK? And my second concern was, `Were our girls OK?"'
After leaving Florida, Bush and his aides flew around on Air Force One and made two other stops before heading to Washington, because security officials were concerned about the White House being a target of further attacks.
He described his visit to ground zero after the attack. It looked like a giant scar from the air, but when he got to the site, "it was like walking into hell," he said.
The two-day interview by the National Geographic crew started the day after President Barack Obama announced the killing of 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden. Bush says the news made him "grateful."
He says: "I didn't feel any great sense of happiness or jubilation. I felt a sense of closure. And I felt a sense of gratitude that justice had been done."