Johns Creek man talks about keeping president safe during 9/11

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JOHNS CREEK, Ga. —

As the events commemorating the 9/11 attacks wound down Wednesday, a now Johns Creek man who played a vital part in keeping the president safe during the attacks 12 years ago, told his story to an audience at a local high school.

"I was convinced that the world had shifted and it did," said retired Lt. Gen. Glenn Spears of the United State Air Force.

Spears worked as the operational and installation commander of Andrews Air Force Base and the 89th Wing, which left him with many jobs to handle that day.

"One of those jobs was the safe transportation of the president, protecting the president, and we did that job very well," Spears said.

Spears told Channel 2's Carl Willis he could smell the smoke from the attack at the Pentagon. He said he had to keep cool head and watch over Air Force One all while dealing with the emotions that so many Americans felt that day.

"I felt anger. I was frustrated that someone had snuck up on the United States and attacked us from within," Spears said.

Spears said he made the recommendation to the Secret Service to take President George W. Bush to Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport and they agreed.

On his return to Andrews Air Force Base, Spears said the president had a message for him.

"The president said to me that we would as a nation determine who had conducted these cowardly attacks, we would find them and bring them to justice," Spears said.

Spears spoke at Northview High School Wednesday night. He shared the lesson that he took from this tragedy.

"That we should not be afraid of the terror that was instead celebrate the resolve and the strength and unity that resulted on that day," Spears said.