My husband and I arrived in College Station, Texas yesterday. We decided to visit the Bush Presidential Library today at the suggestion of some friends and also on the recommendation of TripAdvisor and Yelp reviewers. I didn’t know what to expect. A really swanky library filled with lots of books? Why would so many people rave about that?
Now I know. The Bush Library is actually a museum that chronicles the life and times of President George Bush. Regardless of your political leanings, I highly recommend a visit if you’re in the area.
Did you know that in 1943, at 18 years of age, George Bush became the youngest Navy pilot? He served in World War II – and survived his plane being shot down over the Pacific. (Read more about his military service in this World War II magazine interview.)
Anyway, within minutes of entering the Bush Library, I was thoroughly engrossed in learning more about the man who was our 41st president. More than once, I was brought to tears as I read letters he’d written in his younger years to his parents and to his bride-to-be. I was struck by how open he was about sharing his feelings (and a little sad for posterity’s sake about how few letters we write today). It was obvious that he held family, friends, and freedom dear to his heart even as he went on to become an oil entrepreneur, U.S. congressman, director of the C.I.A., vice president, and president. By the time we left the museum, I wished that I could shake his hand.
So what’s the Bush Library got to do with cleaning house?
As I sat down to watch a short video of George Bush’s inaugural address from January 20, 1989, I thought of you as I heard these words:
My friends, we are not the sum of our possessions. They are not the measure of our lives. In our hearts we know what matters. We cannot hope only to leave our children a bigger car, a bigger bank account. We must hope to give them a sense of what it means to be a loyal friend, a loving parent, a citizen who leaves his home, his neighborhood and town better than he found it. What do we want the men and women who work with us to say when we are no longer there? That we were more driven to succeed than anyone around us? Or that we stopped to ask if a sick child had gotten better, and stayed a moment there to trade a word of friendship?
Heck with shaking his hand. I’d like to give George Bush a big hug.