Photos show the moment President George W. Bush learned of the 9/11 attacks

After the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, heart-wrenching images surfaced and stirred the world.

Photos released by the US National Archives in 2016 show exactly when President George W. Bush learned the US was under attack.

See how Bush responded to what would be the defining moment of his presidency.

RELATED: Rarely-seen photos from 9/11: 

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Rarely seen photos from 9/11

President George W. Bush watches news coverage of the attacks on the World Trade Center as he is briefed in a classroom at Emma. E Booker Elementary School on September 11, 2001. 

Photo Credit: Photo by Eric Draper, courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Library

In a photo taken two days after the attacks, the extensive damage to the Pentagon can be seen.

Photo Credit: Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Cedric H. Rudisill

Late into the night on September 11, 2001, the Pentagon continues to smoke. 

Photo Credit: Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Robert Houlihan

A clock frozen at the time of impact inside the Pentagon. 

Photo Credit: Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Larry A. Simmons

A scorched fifth-floor office desk from inside the Pentagon. 

Photo Credit: Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Larry A. Simmons

More damage from the fifth-floor of the Pentagon.

Photo Credit: Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Larry A. Simmons

President George W. Bush talks on the phone aboard Air-force One as his senior staff talks nearby. 

Photo Credit: Photo by Eric Draper, Courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Library

George W. Bush converses with Vice President Dick Cheney and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice inside the President's Emergency Operations Center on the day of the attacks. 

Photo Credit: National Archives photo

Vice President Dick Cheney and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice listen intently during meetings in the President's Emergency Operations Center. 

Photo Credit: National Archives photo

More views from inside the President's Emergency Operations Center on September 11, 2001. 

Photo Credit: National Archives photo

Smoke billows from site of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. 

Photo Credit: Photo by Paul Morse, courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Library

New York National Guard soldiers from the 69th Infantry Division and New York City firefighters work together to clear rubble from the ground zero. 

Photo Credit: New York National Guard photo

A New York National Guard soldier at ground zero. 

Photo Credit: New York National Guard photo

Secretary of State Colin Powell from inside the President's Emergency Operations Center. 

Photo Credit: National Archives photo

President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney converse inside the President's Emergency Operations Center on September 11, 2001. 

Photo Credit: National Archives photo

One day after the attack's President George W. Bush greets rescue workers, firefighters, and military who were on site at the Pentagon. 

Photo Credit: Photo by Eric Draper, Courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Library

The President thanks Firefighters, rescue workers, and military personnel at ground zero. 

Photo Credit: Photo by Eric Draper, Courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Library

President George W. Bush holds hands with his father during the service for America's National Day of Prayer and Remembrance on September 14, 2001. 

Photo Credit: Photo by Eric Draper, Courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Library

Soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) hang the largest authorized flag for the military over the side of the Pentagon as cleanup and recovery continue after the attacks. 

Photo Credit: Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Pendergrass

Taken on Feb. 8, 2004, the widow of pilot Jason Dahl who was flying United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11, 2001, holds a flag honoring those who sacrificed their lives on 9/11.  The plane is believed to have been en route to the White House but crashed in Somerset Pennsylvania.

Photo Credit: Air Force photo by Tech Sgt. Darin Overstreet

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President George W. Bush participates in a reading demonstration on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, at Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida.

The U.S. National Archives

Dan Bartlett, deputy assistant to the president, points to news footage of the attacks while President Bush listens to new security information.

US National Archives

Bush watches television coverage of the attacks on the World Trade Center during a briefing in the classroom.

U.S. National Archives

Bush takes notes as he listens to news coverage of the World Trade Center terrorist attacks.

The U.S. National Archives

Bush calls New York Gov. George Pataki, FBI Director Robert Mueller, and Vice President Dick Cheney. White House Chief of Staff Andy Card talks on a cellphone.

The U.S. National Archives

Bush delivers one of his first remarks to the nation after the attacks, from the elementary school.

The U.S. National Archives

A highway sign on Tuesday, September 11, 2001.

The U.S. National Archives

Bush watches television coverage of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center from his office aboard Air Force One.

The U.S. National Archives

Bush confers with White House Chief of Staff Andy Card in the president's stateroom.

The U.S. National Archives

Bush talks with his staff by telephone from his office aboard Air Force One, during the flight from Sarasota to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.

The U.S. National Archives

Bush talks on the telephone as senior staff huddle in his office.

The U.S. National Archives

Bush and his staff look out the windows of Air Force One at their F-16 escort while en route to Barksdale Air Force Base.

The U.S. National Archives

An F-16 escorts Air Force One.

US National Archives

Bush confers with, from left, Karl Rove, Andy Card, Dan Bartlett, and Ari Fleischer before delivering remarks on the World Trade Center disaster from the General Dougherty Conference Center at Barksdale Air Force Base.

The U.S. National Archives

Bush delivers remarks on the terrorist attacks before departing for Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.

The U.S. National Archives

Bush arrives at Offutt Air Force Base.

The U.S. National Archives

Bush, Admiral Richard Mies, left, and White House Chief of Staff Andy Card conduct a video teleconference at Offutt Air Force Base.

The U.S. National Archives

Bush and White House counsel Harriet Miers aboard Air Force One.

The U.S. National Archives

Bush speaks with Ari Fleischer, left, and Karl Rove aboard Air Force One during the flight to Andrews Air Force Base.

The U.S. National Archives

After departing Offutt Air Force Base for Washington, DC, Bush talks on the phone with Vice President Dick Cheney from Air Force One.

The U.S. National Archives

National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice waits at the South Portico for Bush to arrive at the White House.

The U.S. National Archives

Counselor Karen Hughes and counsel Alberto Gonzales follow Bush into the Oval Office after his return to the White House.

The U.S. National Archives

Working with his senior staff, Bush reviews the speech that he will deliver to the nation in the evening.

The U.S. National Archives

Bush talks with Vice President Dick Cheney in the President's Emergency Operations Center.

The U.S. National Archives

Laura Bush listens as her husband discusses the terrorist attacks with White House staff in the President's Emergency Operations Center.

US National Archives

Bush and Laura talk with Vice President Dick Cheney and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice in the President's Emergency Operations Center.

The U.S. National Archives

After returning to the White House, Bush meets with, from left, Vice President Dick Cheney, Chief of Staff Andy Card, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and Special Agent Carl Truscott of the US Secret Service, in the President's Emergency Operations Center.

The U.S. National Archives

Bush reviews notes with Karen Hughes before addressing the nation from the Oval Office.

US National Archives

Bush delivers his televised address.

The U.S. National Archives

After addressing the nation, Bush meets with his National Security Council in the President's Emergency Operations Center.

The U.S. National Archives

See Also:

SEE ALSO: 20 haunting photos from the September 11 attacks that Americans will never forget

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