On Wednesday night, we called an audible to attend the public viewing of President Bush as he lay in repose at St Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston. Normally on travel days, we like to keep our agenda light and easy as these are mentally and physically tiring days; however, this was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I asked Will if he wanted to join me and I am so glad we went together....
This was an incredibly organized and well planned out event. 41 would have wanted nothing less. What we saw that night was a wonderful picture of humanity, a grateful community coming together to honor a great man despite all of the logistics involved in such an excursion. The lines were long, the weather was cool, added security was in place and it was certainly a large investment of time. All worth it.
I tried to pay careful attention to the types of people who were in attendance. What I noticed was a blend of people of different ages, ethnic backgrounds and races. Black, White , Hispanic, Asian , many people speaking in a variety of languages in various accents. I pondered why all of these people took time out of their evening to spend a few hours driving in traffic and standing in a long line patiently waiting to barely get a minute to actually see President Bush’s flag draped, military guarded casket. What was their story and why did they come? Of course, I didn’t know any of those people, but I can only imagine that each family and person had their own version of their American Dream affected by the life of President Bush.
On the ground at this event, I didn’t see or hear division, hatred, protests (thankfully) and vitriol. Just a very large group of thankful people who had the decency and respect to honor a man of such high integrity and character. For a brief moment, at least, we weren’t Republicans vs Democrats, Liberal vs Conservative. We were people simply coming together around a common theme. Respect...
Well done, Houston.
For me, the 1988 election was my first presidential election in which I could vote. As a student at the University of Georgia during the Gulf War, I had my first real appreciation for the might and unwavering resolve of the US Military. I’ve always had a deep respect for our men and women in military service and thank God that we had President Bush as the Commander in Chief during that period of our history.
I came home that night with renewed optimism that this type of decency is still very much alive in America. Despite the amped up rhetoric in social and traditional media outlets this week (ok....24/7), I hope we won’t forget that as a society, we can do more together on key issues than we can on opposite sides of all issues. Political preferences will always be present. Despite that reality, my sincere hope is that integrity and character will always serve as great equalizers we can all rally around in how we choose to live in the world today.
Thank you Mr. President - you were a class act. May your legacy be forever remembered.