As President Bush ends his tenure in office, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for his service to our country these last eight years. He has served this nation honorably with a steadfast commitment to do what is right regardless of popularity. His faith, character, and positive outlook remained throughout his entire presidency, and he always knew to look to God as the source of all wisdom and strength.
He continually reminded us that freedom is a gift of God to all of humanity. He emphasized the need for Americans to give, to volunteer, and to care for others. He ensured that we never overlooked the sacrifices and honorable service of those who defend our country. And he modeled a lifestyle of integrity and a love for his family that serves as an example to all.
I am frustrated and saddened by how unfairly he has been treated by the media and by those who have exhibited such hatred for him. It is one thing to disagree with someone because of his political ideology or a particular decision made. It is something else entirely to be filled with passionate hatred of an individual.
How quickly people forget all of the good that has been accomplished.
Can you imagine having any other president than George W. Bush during the days immediately following September 11, 2001? Think back to that first address to the nation from the Oval Office that night. The entire country was looking to him, desperately searching for reassurance, for hope, for security. His address concluded with these words:
“Tonight, I ask for your prayers for all those who grieve, for the children whose worlds have been shattered, for all whose sense of safety and security has been threatened. And I pray they will be comforted by a power greater than any of us, spoken through the ages in Psalm 23: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me.”
“This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace. America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time. None of us will ever forget this day. Yet, we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world.”
As he spoke that night, every heart in America beat with his.
Think of his inspirational statements as he met with the relief workers at Ground Zero. When a man in the crowd said he couldn’t hear the President, he responded amid roaring shouts and applause, “I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.”
Will you ever forget the words “We will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail”?
He continued that State of the Union address with these words:
“I will not forget this wound to our country or those who inflicted it. I will not yield; I will not rest; I will not relent in waging this struggle for freedom and security for the American people. The course of this conflict is not known, yet its outcome is certain. Freedom and fear, justice and cruelty, have always been at war, and we know that God is not neutral between them.”
How dare anyone suggest that his post-9/11 plan was for people to simply “go shop.”
As a result of President Bush’s tough decisions, there are now two new democracies in countries people could hardly have imagined only a few years ago. Regimes of tyranny, genocide, and utter disrespect for human life have been replaced with governments elected by and accountable to the people. True, they have a long way to go, but the flame of democracy has been kindled. Who can forget the beaming smiles of men and women with ink stains on their fingers from voting for the first time, even risking their lives in order to do so?
One of the accomplishments President Bush never received enough credit for was his aid to the people of Africa. His HIV/AIDS relief program was larger than any other president in history ($15 billion). He also led the fight against malaria (which kills more people annually than AIDS) and as a result cut the rate of malaria in half. These programs represent America’s commitment to caring for those less fortunate around the world, and George W. Bush is Africa’s unsung hero.
President Bush was also able to bring the brutal practice of partial birth abortion to an end as part of his commitment to protecting unborn children. He ensured protection for infants born alive after failed abortions, and he provided insurance for pregnant mothers and permanent tax credits for adoptions.
Additionally, his stance against stem cell research resulting in the death of embryos may have been unpopular politically to some, but it was a policy grounded in respect for every human life, born or unborn, and it has produced tremendous results through adult stem cells. Our country still has a long way to go in fully protecting all unborn life, but great gains have been made. Let us hope that the new administration will not destroy all of the progress that has been achieved.
We must also be aware of the enormous impact President Bush has had on our judicial system. He made two outstanding appointments to the Supreme Court – Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito – as well as numerous lower court judge appointments. He appointed judges who understand that their role is to interpret the Constitution and not to make new laws. Many of the judges he appointed were relatively young, so we will benefit from the impact of these appointments for many years to come.
Looking back at all of these and other accomplishments, recognizing that Americans have been kept safe from terrorist attack for over seven years, and noting President Bush’s steadfast display of character, courage, compassion, and conviction throughout his entire term, my response is one of heartfelt gratitude, awe, and respect. My hope is that in time, all Americans will come to realize the positive and significant impact of George W. Bush’s presidency.
I conclude with the end of President Bush’s Farewell Address:
“It has been the privilege of a lifetime to serve as your president. There have been good days and tough days. But every day, I have been inspired by the greatness of our country and uplifted by the goodness of our people.
“I have been blessed to represent this nation we love. And I will always be honored to carry a title that means more to me than any other — citizen of the United States of America.
“And so, my fellow Americans, for the final time, good night. May God bless this house and our next president. And may God bless you and our wonderful country.”
Mr. President, there have indeed been good days and tough days, but we have been inspired by your words and actions and have been blessed to have you represent this nation we love. We will always be honored that you held this position of service and we are truly grateful. May God bless you, sir, and all in your wonderful family.