A Time of Mourning and Hopes for Tornado Recovery

ENTERPRISE, Ala. (AP) - In a sorrowful South, President Bush saw disheartening devastation from killer tornadoes and wandered through the shattered Enterprise, Alabama school where eight students died.

After talking to teenagers grieving for their classmates at Enterprise High School, the president said, "Out of devastation can come hope and a better tomorrow."

He climbed over piles of concrete, roofing, insulation, broken glass and textbooks.

Be strong and set an example for the other 12-hundred students, Bush told four youngsters, all holding hands, as they spoke with him.

Down hallway three, lined by blue lockers, the president went in private, the corridor where the eight students succumbed and scores more were trapped in Thursday's storm.

The president also saw the school wing, now just rubble, where students had hunkered down -- and survived -- as the tornado approached.

"Today I have walked through devastation that is hard to describe," he said, standing with students, one of whom had a tear running down her face. "A hundred kids got out of here alive, which is a miracle."

During the visit, Bush designated Coffee County as a disaster area, releasing federal dollars for recovery and individual assistance. His disaster relief chief came along for a firsthand look at the damage so he could make quick recommendations to the White House on requests for help from Washington.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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