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Sep 01, 2021 Washington D.C.

The White House Historical Association released the 62nd issue of its award-winning magazine, White House History Quarterly titled, “September 11, 2001.” This special issue marking the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 looks back on that tragic day and shares never-before-published first-hand accounts from staff members and a journalist who were in the White House and on Air Force One.

The Quarterly is honored to share the many stories of men and women who showed up for work on September 11 and were suddenly confronted with the possibility that the White House, along with their lives, could be lost within minutes. These behind-the-scenes accounts are accompanied by photographsmany never-before-published—of the events of that day and the days following as the staff returned to work on September 12, 2001, ready to serve despite what they witnessed and endured just 24 hours prior.

Included in this issue:

  • White House correspondent Ann Compton’s article “Covering the President from the Last Plane in Flight,” reflects on being aboard Air Force One documenting the president’s journey as he led the nation from the White House in the air.
  • Anita McBride, then a special assistant to the president, shares the stories of the Executive Office of the President staff, who regrouped following the evacuation and continued to carry out their duties in her article, “Whatever It Takes to Get Back to Work on Behalf of the President.” McBride reveals stories from a wide range of staffers, from aides assisting the vice president and National Security Council with the weightiest of responsibilities to the class of young Fall interns from around the country who just started their first full day at the White House. As she notes, “Although every story is unique, an unmistakable theme runs through them all: the people entrusted with the privilege of service at the White House were determined to fulfill their duties."
  • Donna Hayashi Smith, Associate Curator of Collections and Registrar in the Office of the Curator, shares the recollections, thoughts, feelings, and experiences of the Executive Residence staff in an article titled, “The Executive Residence Staff Remember the White House on a Tragic Day in History.” This tight-knit diverse group consists of about 85 people who serve at the pleasure of the president and first family, regardless of political party. Throughout history, these individuals have faced many challenges from behind-the-scenes, but nothing quite compares to the events of September 11, 2001.
  • Matthew Wendel’s account titled, “The President’s Retreat at Camp David,” takes readers to Camp David the weekend of September 15, 2001. Wendel, the president’s personal cook, recalls preparing food for the president and his advisors who retreated to cabins in the mountains to continue their long meetings in the aftermath of the attacks. Wendel explains how he sought to prepare comfort food to help ease their stress and sadness.

In his televised address to the nation on the evening of September 11, 2001, President Bush remarked on the “steel of American resolve.” That American resolve is defined in the experiences witnessed and documented by Ann Compton, Anita McBride, Donna Hayashi Smith, and Matthew Wendel. Their accounts underscore the courage and dedication to service of those who reentered the gates and returned to service at the White House on September 12, 2001.

This 96-page issue of White House History Quarterly retails for $9.95.

To subscribe or purchase a single issue, visit

Interview Opportunity:

To request an interview with Ann Compton, Anita McBride, or Matthew Wendel, please contact

See images included in this issue here

(Please credit all images: George W. Bush Presidential Library / National Archives and Records Administration)

About White House History Quarterly

White House History Quarterly, published by the White House Historical Association since 1983 is now in its sixty second issue. The Quarterly strives to present the broadest view of this personal American subject—the White House—featuring memoir, biography, history, and cultural context as it opens the doors of “America’s House” to America. Issues are thematic, shaped to tell a story from a particular angle, and the themes—from music, theater, fashion, art, entertaining, flowers and gardens, kitchens and cooking, presidential journeys and travel, memoir, and presidential kin and presidential sites—suggest the broad scope of the content. With editorial offices in Washington, D.C., at the Association's row house facing Lafayette Park across from the White House, White House History Quarterly is published four times each year. One, two, or three-year subscriptions, single copies, and bound collections of back issues are available.

P.D.F. Resources

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About the White House Historical Association

First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy envisioned a restored White House that conveyed a sense of history through its decorative and fine arts. She sought to inspire Americans, especially children, to explore and engage with American history and its presidents. In 1961, the nonprofit, nonpartisan White House Historical Association was established to support her vision to preserve and share the Executive Mansion’s legacy for generations to come. Supported entirely by private resources, the Association’s mission is to assist in the preservation of the state and public rooms, fund acquisitions for the White House permanent collection, and educate the public on the history of the White House. Since its founding, the Association has given more than $50 million to the White House in fulfillment of its mission.

To learn more about the White House Historical Association, please visit

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