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September 01, 2008

In Praise Of President George W. Bush

Iíve had my disagreements with the President on policy over the years but one thing that has always impressed me is his character. I know thatís an inconceivable thought for many on the left and Iím not saying heís a perfect person, no one is, but occasionally you see stories about his more human side and canít help but be impressed.

Witness this story of why Air Force One was 15 minutes late leaving Eielson AFB in Alaska during the Presidentís trip to China.

That's a big slip for something so tightly choreographed, but very few people know why it happened. Here's why.

On Dec. 10, 2006, our son, Shawn, was a paratrooper deployed on the outskirts of Baghdad . He was supposed to spend the night in camp, but when a fellow soldier became ill Shawn volunteered to take his place on a nighttime patrol--in the convoy's most exposed position as turret gunner in the lead Humvee. He was killed instantly with two other soldiers when an IED ripped through their vehicle.

I was thinking about that as my family and I sat in the audience listening to the President's speech, looking at the turret on the up-armored Humvee the explosive ordnance disposal flight had put at the edge of the stage as a static display.

When the speech was over and the President was working the crowd line, I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned to see a White House staff member. She asked me and my wife to come with her, because the President wanted to meet us.

ÖA short time later, the Secret Service opened the door and President Bush walked in. I thought we might get to shake his hand as he went through. But instead, he walked up to my wife with his arms wide, pulled her in for a hug and a kiss, and said, "I wish I could heal the hole in your heart." He then grabbed me for a hug, as well as each of our sons. Then he turned and said, "Everybody out."

A few seconds later, the four of us were completely alone behind closed doors with the President of the United States and not a Secret Service agent in sight.

Take a few minutes on this holiday afternoon to read about the time the President of the United States spent with the family of a fallen hero. Itís a story no one would have known about had this proud father not written about it.

My understanding is this is something the President does all the time.

Iím sure itís the last thing on Bushís mind right now but I feel bad that he wonít get the chance to address the Republican convention and get a farewell sendoff from a group of people who may have disagreed and fought with him but never doubted his commitment to the country and those who serve it.

Immigration, spending and a bunch of other issues aside, I think we're going to miss this guy more than we realize.


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posted by DrewM. at 02:37 PM

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