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Laura Bush 'stunned' by visit to Ground Zero

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- First lady Laura Bush said she was "stunned" by a visit earlier this month to New York's Ground Zero -- her first to the site of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

"Before that, I had been to New York, of course, but I really had not had the nerve, to be perfectly frank, to go to Ground Zero," Mrs. Bush said in an interview to be aired Tuesday night on CNN's "Larry King Live."

"It was like we expected it to be in so many ways," said the first lady, who visited the site with some friends from Texas "But the devastation of it is so overwhelming that in person, you are stunned by it."

The first lady also said she thinks that "some sort" of memorial ought to be erected at the site.

Asked if she had been surprised at how her husband, President Bush, has handled the aftermath of September 11, she said, "I know how strong he is. I know how disciplined he is."

She noted that the president visited Ground Zero right after the attack, stood amid the ruins and rallied rescue workers with a bullhorn. "That really is the way my husband relates to people." she said. "He really likes people. He's very quick to empathize on the way people feel, and that really impresses me."

The first lady also urged Americans to reach out during the holiday season to family members of those lost in the terrorist attacks and families of U.S. troops fighting the war against terrorism.

"I know all of us thought about the single mother or the single dad who are trying to decorate a (Christmas) tree right now and trying to make their child or their children have a very, very happy holiday, even though they're now missing their spouse," she said.

"I know we all think about that, and we want to reach out at this holiday -- certainly to them, to all of the people who lost somebody on September 11, but also to the members of our families of the United States military who are going to be overseas."


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