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Laura Bush Remembers

The Early Show: First Lady Laura Bush and Jane Clayson
CBS/The Early Show
On Sept. 11, President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush will travel to ground zero, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pa., to mark the one-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks. The Early Show's Jane Clayson sat down with Mrs. Bush Tuesday in the Blue Room at the White House to discuss how the events of one year ago have changed the country.

"We are much more unified than we were a year ago, that we're all really proud to be Americans," Mrs. Bush said. "I see it everywhere. I know that in New York, and certainly here in Washington, the feeling is just so - still so raw; we are still going through exactly the same emotions. But even out around, all around the country, I see flags everywhere. I see flags on cars. I saw bumper stickers in Dallas that said, 'We'll never forget.' So I think it really has affected all Americans."

Clayson asked about her personal feelings that day.

"Well, I know I'm going to be feeling the grief again of it," Mrs. Bush said. "I can tell. I went to the show that's at the Smithsonian that will open on Sept. 11. It's a very minimal show. It's just a few photographs that belonged to people that were lost on Sept. 11. But still all of those feelings, those feelings of grief and sorrow rush back. And I know that's going to happen to Americans as we watch this anniversary, as we see the interviews with the people who lost someone on Sept. 11. But I think it's really important for us to remember."

What about the children? Did the first ladt have a message for them, asked Clayson.

"Well, I want to encourage parents to not let their young children particularly watch those images over and over," Mrs. Bush said. "If you see that, then get up and walk out of the room or turn the TV off for a while. And if you are going to watch TV with your children, maybe your older children, it is a good idea to actually watch it with them so you can talk about what's happening, so you can talk about the feelings that everyone shared on that day, the feelings of grief," said the First Lady.

"I remember two days after Sept.11, you told me that you hoped that this even would bring families closer together," said Clayson.

"I think it really did bring families closer together. I think families are paying a lot more attention to each other since last Sept. 11, because we were all so reminded of how precious our family relationships are, when we saw all the people who lost the person they loved best that day, " said Mrs. Bush.

Does she believe the events of Sept. 11 and the aftermath will define her husband's presidency?

"Well, I do," the first lady said. "In many ways I think it will define our history as a country for a while. Our response to the terrorists, war on terror, our response to each other, the way people stood in line to give blood. All of those things really do define us as a country, and I think we maybe not realize that we have the same strength that we think of in our parent's generation, the greatest generation after Pearl Harbor and then World War II. But now to see that Americans seem to have that same resilience and that same strength of character that Americans have always had. It really does make me proud," said Mrs. Bush.

Clayson asked whether Mrs. Bush saw Iraq and Saddam Hussein as a threat.

"Well, I know that my husband knows that his main responsibility is to make sure that Americans are safe, to also make sure that innocent people around the world don't lose their lives, answered Mrs. Bush. "And I have every confidence in him and in his administration. I know that whatever they choose to do will be a wise decision, and it will be very deliberate, and it will be very well thought out."

What about the possibility of future attacks?

"I know that our government is doing every single thing they can to make sure nothing like Sept. 11 happens again," Mrs. Bush said. "But do I think there's a role for American citizens? Absolutely. We still need to be vigilant. We still need to pay attention when we're getting on a plane, for instance, or doing anything else.

"If we see something that we think is unusual or threatening in any way, we need to notify the authorities," said Mrs. Bush. "And that's sad. We lived a life before Sept. 11 where we didn't feel like we had to be vigilant about every single thing, and it's hard to be vigilant for a year, and that's what will have happened here this Sept. 11. But it's also very important; it's just sadly a fact of our life in America right now."

As for her hopes for the future, Mrs. Bush said, "Well, I hope that people will really try to make their own lives meaningful to honor the lives of the people that we lost on Sept. 11 and since, the military men and women that we've lost as we started the war on terror.

" I think that's one thing we can do. We can resolve as individuals and as a nation and as citizens of America to make a more meaningful life for ourselves and for our country," said Mrs. Bush.