ENTERPRISE, Ala. (AP) - On a mournful mission, President Bush climbed over piles of concrete, roofing, insulation, broken glass and textbooks Saturday that littered Enterprise High School, battered by a tornado that killed eight students.
Down hallway three, lined by blue lockers, Bush went in private, the corridor where the students died and scores more were trapped in Thursday's storm.
The president also saw the wing -- now just rubble -- where students had hunkered down as the tornado approached.
"A hundred kids got out of here alive, which is a miracle," Bush said.
Before visiting the school, Bush got a bird's-eye view of the tornado damage in Enterprise as his Marine One helicopter followed the storm's extensive path.
The president told Enterprise Mayor Kenneth Boswell after the aerial tour, quoting: "You can never heal a heart, but you can provide comfort knowing that the federal government will provide help for those whose houses were destroyed or automobiles were destroyed."
Bush designated Coffee County as a disaster area, releasing millions of dollars in federal aid for recovery and individual assistance.
At the airport, Bush commented: "This storm is a tough storm. Went eight miles and affected a lot of lives."
He added: "This country is a prayerful country. A lot of people praying for you."
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)