Darling to give first-hand report of White House 9/11 response Thursday

An eyewitness to White House events during the frantic hours following the 2001 terrorist attacks will share his experiences Nov. 8 at Mississippi State.

Robert J. Darling will discuss "24 Hours inside the President's Bunker: 9-11-01: The White House" during the 5:30 p.m. presentation in McCool Hall's Taylor Auditorium. Organized by the university's Colvard Student Union, the program is free and open to all.

Darling's topic also is the title of his 184-page memoir published in 2010 by iUniverse.com.

In tribute to the national Veteran's Day observance Nov. 11, the retired U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant colonel is donating a portion of his speaking fee to MSU's G.V. "Sonny" Montgomery Center for America's Veterans.

It was on Sept. 10 that then-Maj. Darling helped organize President George W. Bush's scheduled multi-day visit to Florida. Upon learning the following morning that two commercial airliners had been crashed purposely into the World Trade Center and one into the Pentagon, he rushed to the president's underground chamber at the White House.

Once there, he assumed the task of liaison between Vice President Dick Cheney, the national security adviser and the Pentagon. He began working with the National Command Authority and was present with the vice president when orders were given for two Air Force fighter jets to get airborne and shoot down United Flight 93, a fourth airliner that was tracking toward the nation's capital.

In addition to the vice president, Darling was witness to decisions made by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and others in responding to one of the greatest crises faced by the United States in its then 234-year history.

For additional information on the program, contact union program coordinator Amelia Treptow at 662-325-2930 or at565@msstate.edu.

Sammy McDavid | University Relations

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