This was sent to me and I now share it with you.
An Awesome President
This is from a man, Bruce Vincent, from Montana who received an award from the President. He writes:
For me, however, the biggest event of the day had already happened when the East Room Ceremony started up. While the East Room ceremony was being prepared, the four national award winners and the entities that nominated them were taken to the Oval Office for the official award presentation by President Bush and First Lady Bush. There were eight of us in total. Stepping into the Oval Office, each of us was introduced to the President and Mrs. Bush.
I have to tell you, I was blown away by two things upon entering the office. First, the Oval Office sense of 'place' is unreal. The President later shared a story of Russian President Putin entering the room prepared to tackle the President in a tough negotiation and upon entering the atheist muttered his first words to the President and they were "Oh, my God."
I concurred. I could feel the history in my bones. I was admittedly concerned about meeting the man. I think all of us have an inner hope that the most powerful man in our country is worthy of the responsibility and authority that we bestow upon them through our vote.
I admit that part of me was afraid that I would be let down by the moment - that the person and the place could not meet the lofty expectations of my fantasy world.
He and the First Lady were asked about the impact of the Presidency on their marriage and, with an arm casually wrapped around Laura, he said that he thought the place may be hard on weak marriages but that it had the ability to make strong marriages even stronger and that he was blessed with a strong one.
When asked what the biggest challenge of the Presidency was, he talked about the daily frustration of partisan politics. He said that when he was elected he promised that he would do in DC what he had done in Texas and that was build alliances and coalitions that bridged party lines in order to move the nation forward. He had quickly learned that there are those in the nation's capital that would rather see the nation dismantled than work together to achieve a common good. That, he said is a bitter and continuing disappointment.
The President talked about the artwork and other items of interest in the room. For instance the desk he uses is the one that was given to the U.S. by Queen Victoria and used by FDR and JFK. In fact FDR had a front panel added to the desk to cover the mid section because FDR did not want the country to know he was in a wheelchair. President Bush laughed and said, "My how things have changed, FDR hid a wheelchair and if I eat a pretzel and get a tingle in my arm it's front page news around the globe."
That little desk faux front is hinged by the way, and is the door that we all have seen John-John sticking his head from behind in the famous photo of JFK at work.
After about 30 or 35 minutes, it was time to go. By then we were all relaxed and I felt as if I had just had an excellent visit with a friend. The President and First Lady made one more pass down the line of awardees, shaking hands and offering congratulations. When the President shook my hand I said, "thank you Mr. President and God bless you and your family."
He was already in motion to the next person in line, but he stopped abruptly, turned fully back to me, gave me a piercing look, renewed the vigor of his handshake and said, "Thank you - and God bless you and yours as well."
I then did something that surprised even me. I said to him, "Mr. President, I know you are a busy man and your time is precious. I also know you to be a man of strong faith and have a favor to ask you." As he shook my hand he looked me in the eye and said, "Just name it."
I told him that my step-Mom was at that moment in a hospital in Kalispell, Montana, having a tumor removed from her skull and it would mean a great deal to me if he would consider adding her to his prayers that day. He grabbed me by the arm and took me back toward his desk as he said, "So that's it. I could tell that something is weighing heavy on your heart today. I could see it in your eyes. This explains it." From the top drawer of his desk he retrieved a pen and a note card with his seal on it and asked, "How do you spell her name?" He then jotted a note to her while discussing the importance of family and the strength of prayer.
When he handed me the card, he asked about the surgery and the prognosis. I told him we were hoping that it is not a recurrence of an earlier cancer and that if it is they can get it all with this surgery. He said, "If it's okay with you, we'll take care of the prayer right now. Would you pray with me?" I told him yes and he turned to the staff that remained in the office and hand motioned the folks to step back or leave.
He said, "Bruce and I would like some private time for a prayer." As they left he turned back to me and took my hands in his. I was prepared to do a traditional prayer stance - standing with each other with heads bowed. Instead, he reached for my head with his right hand and pulling gently forward, he placed my head on his shoulder. With his left arm on my mid back, he pulled me to him in a prayerful embrace. He started to pray softly. I started to cry. He continued his prayer for Loretta and for God's perfect will to be done. I cried some more. My body shook a bit as I cried and he just held tighter. He closed by asking God's blessing on Loretta and the family during the coming months. I stepped away from our embrace, wiped my eyes, swiped at the tears I'd left on his shoulder, and looked into the eyes of our President. I thanked him as best I could and told him that me and my family would continue praying for he and his.
As I write this account down and reflect upon what it means, I have to tell you that all I really know is that his simple act left me humbled and believing. I so hoped that the man I thought him to be was the man that he is. I know that our nation needs a man such as this in the Oval Office.
He's not what I had hoped he would be. He is, in fact, so very, very much more.
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|Posted: February 20, 2005 |