Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
The night of September 11, Laura finally reunited with her husband in the bunker of the White House. "I don't remember what we said. I don't even know if we said anything," she says. "I remember that we hugged each other, and we knew everything had changed. Everything for our country had changed, but everything had changed for us. His presidency had changed totally."
Though Secret Service agents advised the couple to sleep in the bunker, Laura says the president wanted to sleep in his own bed. "George said, 'I've got to get sleep,'" she says. "'But you can come get us if you think you have to.'"
That night, Laura and the president were awakened by security. "I heard footsteps and rapid breathing out in the hall and an agent ran in the room and said: 'You've got to go back downstairs. There's another plane coming,'" she says. "So George and I jumped up, and I didn't put on my contacts because I didn't have time to. So then George had to hold my hand as I blindly made my way down."
The first couple picked up their pets along the way. "Spot ran," she says. "I think George carried Barney and I had Kitty, and we went down to the bunker."
By the time they arrived to safety, Laura says they found out it was all a false alarm. "They said the plane was one of ours," she says. "Those fighter jets that flew over Washington and flew over a lot of big cities."