Children of the Goat


It's a few days old, but I just now saw the AP's "Oh, yeah, what happened to them?" story about the students of Emma E. Booker Elementary School. These were the kids who sat and listened to the president read The Pet Goat (not My Pet Goat. Check your facts, Bill Maher.) as he was informed that planes had flown into the World Trade Center. Five years older and five years wiser, what do these kids remember? Besides the basic lessons of animal husbandry?

"His face just started to turn red," said Tyler Radkey, now 13 and in seventh grade. "I thought, personally, he had to go to the bathroom."

For a puzzling seven minutes, the youngsters read aloud from the story "The Pet Goat" while the shaken president followed along in front of the class, trying to come to grips with what he had been told—that a second plane had just hit the World Trade Center and the nation was under terrorist attack.

"He looked like he was going to cry," said Natalia Jones-Pinkney, now 12.

Some of the kids are more fair to Bush, including the unusually talking-point-adept Stevenson Tose'-Rigell, who muses that "You can't judge a man on seven minutes."