living a part of history

It was my supreme honor and privilege to serve President and Mrs. Bush as they began work to launch the brand of the George W. Bush Presidential Center. I was beyond grateful to have the chance to serve the man that made me feel safe after I was swept up in the craziness of 9/11 like so many others; who literally is revered on the contient of Africa for saving hundreds of thousands of lives – a generation of people who would have been otherwise lost; who was willing to stand in the storm and make the hard calls. I wanted to work for this man!

Rarely do we post personal messages, but on this historic day, I want to add my voice to what I know of President and Mrs. Bush.  When people ask me, “oh  what are President and Mrs. Bush like,” I give the same answer — “they are everything you hoped they would be.”  Because that’s the truth.  They are the best kind of people.

President Bush is truly the smartest person in the room.  If you need more input, please read Keith Hennessey’s blog on this.  President Bush will literally find the one question you don’t have the answer to and ask that one!  He is funny.  You will laugh out loud and not because you think you should but because you cannot help it. And he is a leader in the old fashioned way we still want our leaders to be — he commands your respect; he will make the decision; you will feel safe.

Mrs. Bush is a great mind.  She misses no detail and cares deeply and passionately for the issues.  She doesn’t just have some peripheral understanding, she can and will deep dive on them with a gentle wisdom that demands you listen!  Neither of them are looking for short term solutions or some quick fix.  They are there to fight for the issue in a way that matters. This commitment to the long haul almost never brings the immediate glory our culture now pursues, but over time we continue to understand the value in their perseverance.

And the piece that touches my heart the most, they took interest in both my children.  On my son Liam’s 6th birthday, Mrs. Bush recited a poem When We Are Six to him. When I was leaving the Bush Center, I had the chance to take them to visit with President Bush and he spent more time than he had to talking to them, hugging Ava because that’s how she connects to you — really seeking them out.  As we left that day and got in our car, both my children said, “They will be the best grandparents! That will be a lucky kid!”  At the news of Mila Hager, Ava and Liam beamed for that baby.

This moment in history where all five living presidents converge on our beloved Dallas shows the best of our country.  Each of these men have, at one time, been political adversaries but now come together to honor one of their own who served our country.  This is not just about President George W. Bush. This is about how we should give respect to our leaders for the office they hold. That it is part of a moral code that is good and decent in our country. No matter your political persuasion, it is right to grant our leaders their humanity.

In my wildest dreams I did not imagine that I would ever witness such a thing or get to work with a president.  After all the destruction of last week, I feel great pride in today.  The American family is all of us.  We disagree; we fight; we may even show our ass.  But in the moment of need, we come running; we bring all we have and rise to the occasion.  Because when the dust settles, we know in our core that we as citizens are in it together.

“It has been the privilege of a lifetime to serve as your President. There have been good days and tough days. But every day I have been inspired by the greatness of our country, and uplifted by the goodness of our people. I have been blessed to represent this nation we love. And I will always be honored to carry a title that means more to me than any other – citizen of the United States of America.” – President George W. Bush


by ashley elsey