We have visited several presidential libraries over the years. Each one is a great trip through history, reminding us of events we lived through and giving us a more complete view of our chief executives than we get during their time in office. They are more than the decisions they made and events they faced in the 4 or 8 years they were in office.
George H. W. Bush's library is in College Station and we visited there with our son Eric. Since it is December the lobby had a Christmas tree.
President Bush had quite a background before being elected as first vice president and then president. At the age of 18 he enlisted in the US Navy at the beginning of World War II. As a pilot, at the age of 20, he had to ditch his plane. It was damaged as it took off from the aircraft carrier and he had to take it down with all the bombs still on board.
This is a quote from one of his crew mates about the event.
After the war he moved to Texas and worked in the oil business and was involved in off-shore drilling. Going into politics, he was elected to congress. His wife, Barbara, accompanied him during the campaigns and took up needlepoint to occupy her as she listened to the same speech time and time again. These are two of the articles she made during the campaign.
During his time in the House of Representatives he voted for the Civil Rights Bill which included equal housing, despite criticism from many of the supporters. Here is a quote from a speech about why he voted for the bill.
He went on to serve as chairman of the Republican National Committee then head of the Central Intelligence Agency. As chair of the party he supported President Nixon during the Watergate scandal--until the hidden tapes came out and he then urged Nixon to resign.
This was going on in the l970s. I was a young mother at home with two children and I was glued to the TV during the congressional hearings. That is where I became a news junky. Today I watch Fox News every night.
Ronald Regan asked Bush to run for vice president and he served in the position for 8 years before being elected president. I was very aware of the Gulf War because our son Doug was there with the U.S. Marines. The day the bombing of Baghdad began I was a teller in a bank in Granby, CO, where we lived. The TV was on in the break room and my supervisor let me go watch much of the coverage. That was the war where Wolf Blitzer and CNN were in our living room every night as we follow the conflict. That war showed the effectiveness of numerous technological advances and changes in the US military.
Eric and I sat and talked with President Bush before Eric took over the presidential desk in the replica Oval Office at the museum.
It was a good visit and we were glad to take Eric on his first experience in a presidential library. They are such a wonderful learning opportunity.