Former President George W. Bush looks out over the U.S. Capitol as his helicopter departs Washington, D.C. January 20, 2009, for Andrews Air Force Base following the inauguration ceremonies for President Barack Obama. (ERIC DRAPER/AFP/Getty Images)
President Bush gave an hour-and-a-half speech Wednesday night at the Wilderness Resort and Convention Center in Sevierville (Hat tip: Brutally Honest):
“Every day in the White House was a joyous day for me,” the 43rd president said. “I miss being commander and chief of our military the most. You know you live in an amazing country when we have servicemen that continually volunteer to serve their country in the face of danger. I believe we have an obligation to give our troops all the support they need to accomplish their missions.”
The former president said he still has faith that conflicts in the Middle East can eventually be resolved.
“There are individuals out there that kill to achieve their ideology,” he said. “In the United States, our ideology is our assurance to freedom. That’s what makes us great and unique.”
Bush said Japan was once a sworn enemy of the United States but is now an ally because of its desire to become a free nation.
“Something happened over the past 60 years that transformed our enemy (Japan) to an ally,” he said.
“It was their desire to become free. That same democratic core can happen in the Middle East if we don’t lose sight that people everywhere should have the right to freedom.”
Each president chooses a portrait of their favorite past president to hang in the oval office and for Bush, that was Abraham Lincoln.
“I believe Abraham Lincoln was the greatest president of all time,” Bush said.
“He believed that all men were created equal under God even during times of civil war. He believed in the spirit of freedom. I believe in God Almighty and that everyone desires to be free and want peace.”
A Methodist by faith, Bush said every American has the right to worship God in any way he or she wants.
“The President of the United States should never promote a particular religion,” he said.
“That’s just another thing that makes us such a great nation, being able to worship God as we choose.”
Bush said he was proud to represent the United States during his eight-year tenure.
“The institution of president is so much more important than the person,” he said. “I tried to bring honor to the office for eight years.”
Phil Waldrep said Bush’s comments were right on target.
“He made everyone feel at ease,” Waldrep said. “I hope everyone walked away from here with a little skip in their step. It was non-political and made me proud to be an American.”
No divisive political rhetoric; no America-bashing. Just an expression of faith, optimism, appreciation of the military, and love of country.
A former fetus, the “wordsmith from nantucket” was born in Phoenix, Arizona in 1968. Adopted at birth, wordsmith grew up a military brat. He achieved his B.A. in English from the University of California, Los Angeles (graduating in the top 97% of his class), where he also competed rings for the UCLA mens gymnastics team. The events of 9/11 woke him from his political slumber and malaise. Currently a personal trainer and gymnastics coach.
The wordsmith has never been to Nantucket.