• Sarasota County school officials learn the White House is considering Emma E. Booker Elementary School for a presidential visit.
• As the dead days of September begin, longtime Colony Beach & Tennis Resort owner Dr. Murray “Murf” Klauber lectures his daughter, Colony President/General Manager Katie Moulton, and their controller that the resort needs more business. The controller, remembering the summer before, when Vice President Al Gore visited while preparing for presidential debates, jokes that Moulton needs a call from her “friends at the White House.” About an hour later, Moulton gets a call from the White House, telling her that a high-ranking official was planning to visit the area.
Wednesday, Sept. 5
• Republican Party of Sarasota Chairman Tramm Hudson is playing golf at the Longboat Key Club and Resort when he gets a call from his friend, Dolphin Aviation owner Ron Ciaravella, who tells Hudson that he just sold 40,000 of JP4 jet fuel to the Secret Service and that the president would arrive for an overnight stay Monday, Sept. 10.
Thursday, Sept. 6
• Longboat Key Police Chief John Kintz and Fire Chief Julius Halas, along with officials from other local law-enforcement agencies, meet with the President George W. Bush’s Secret Service team to discuss the logistics of his visit to the Sarasota area.
Friday, Sept. 7
• The Colony preps for the president’s visit, but Moulton still has few details about what to expect. “They always wait until the last minute because things can change so fast,” she tells the Longboat Observer at the time.
Monday, Sept. 10
• 3 p.m. — Longboat Key Republican Club members Karen Harding, Ralph and Claire Hunter and Barbara Conrad volunteer to greet and check-in President George W. Bush’s entourage as well as the evening’s dinner guests at the Colony.
• 5 p.m. — Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport (SRQ) closes for the arrival of Air Force One.
• 5:45 p.m. — Residents begin to line Gulf of Mexico Drive to watch the arrival of the presidential motorcade.
• 6:15 p.m. — Bush arrives at the Colony in his limousine with several high-ranking Republican officials including his brother, Gov. Jeb Bush, and former State Senate President John McKay. Moulton embraces McKay and Gov. Bush, both of whom are friends. Bush then jokes to Moulton: “I don’t know if I should hug you. Are you family?” He goes on to greet staff and volunteers before dinner.
• 7 p.m. — Bush, his brother and 11 others gather in the private Colony dining room for a Tex-Mex dinner prepared by Tommy Klauber. The menu includes special Longboat fish tacos, chili con queso and tenderloin rancheros, and their conversation ranges from Bush’s plans to privatize Social Security, baseball, politics and David McCullough’s “John Adams.” While many members of the group order wine, Bush, a teetotaler, orders an O’Doul’s non-alcoholic beer.
• 10 p.m. — Bush retires for the night to a Colony penthouse.
Tuesday, Sept. 11
• 6 a.m. — Longboat Key Fire Marshal Carroll Mooneyhan is at the front desk of the Colony, while Bush prepares for his morning jog. Mooneyhan overhears a conversation between a Colony receptionist and security guard. The two discuss that a van occupied by men of Middle Eastern descent had pulled up to the Colony, and the men said they had a poolside interview with the president. The self-proclaimed reporters asked for a Secret Service agent by name. Security guards relayed the request to the receptionist, who had not heard of either the agent or a scheduled interview, and she gave the phone to a nearby Secret Service agent who said the same thing. The van’s occupants were told to contact the president’s public relations office in Washington, D.C., and were turned away. The incident remains unverified by the FBI.
• 6:30 a.m. — Bush begins a four-mile jog along the Gulf of Mexico.
• 8:23 a.m. — Bush walks down the stairs of the Colony, headed to his limousine. Moulton thanks him for spotlighting the children of Sarasota as he gets in his limo en route to Booker Elementary.
• 8:46 a.m. — American Airlines Flight 11 strikes the North Tower.
• 8:50 a.m. — Marvin Peters, of Longboat Key, is standing on the Sarasota bayfront to watch Bush’s motorcade go by. He says he saw a van with two “Middle Eastern men screaming out of the windows, ‘Down with Bush’ and raising their fists in the air.”
• 8:51 a.m. — Bush arrives at Booker Elementary to promote No Child Left Behind. According to Bill Sammon’s “Fighting Back,” before Bush heads into the school, he speaks to National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice, who tells him that a plane has hit the World Trade Center. “That’s one terrible pilot,” he said to White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card before speculating about whether the pilot could have suffered a heart attack.
• 9:02 a.m. — United Airlines Flight 175 strikes the South Tower.
• 9:05 a.m. — As Bush listens to second-graders read a story, Card whispers in his ear that a second plane has hit the World Trade Center.
• 9:15 a.m. — Bush leaves the classroom and goes to a holding room at the school, where he is briefed by staff.
• 9:30 a.m. — Bush addresses the world for the first time from the media center at Booker Elementary. He says there has been “an apparent terrorist attack on our country.”
• 9:43 a.m. — American Airlines Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon.
• 9:55 a.m. — Bush arrives at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport and heads straight to Air Force One. He waves briefly to the crowd before entering the aircraft, which departs immediately.
• Mid-morning — Many Secret Service agents and most of the press corps are left behind at the Colony. Many agents worry about their colleagues, because the Secret Service has an office at the World Trade Center. Reporters continue to file stories while working on making arrangements to get back to Washington, D.C.
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