There have been a spate of "Why I Miss President GW Bush" articles lately. Also, a killer t-shirt fluttered on the front display area of a Martha's Vineyard store during our current President's fourth or fifth (easy to lose count) summer vacation this past August. The shirt depicts GWB waving at an unseen crowd and smiling that lop sided smirky grin of his. The caption reads, "MISS ME YET?
Well, as a recently retired military man, I have my own reasons to miss "W"...chief among them being his absolute devotion to the Armed Forces over which he was Commander in Chief for eight stressful years.
Now, as a movement conservative, I was and am not now a fan of GW's profligate spending...a good example of why not to send your children to Ivy League Schools.
Having said that, it is hard to fault him for his inspiring service as C 'n C. Believe me, the troops felt his love.
The video coverage of his famous and quite dangerous surprise Thanksgiving trip to Baghdad early in the Iraq War was cropped. It had to be. The thunderous reception you see on tape went on for over twenty minutes according to a friend of mine who as in the dining facility in question. We noticed.
He was a frequent visitor to military medical facilities, often unaccompanied by any press, though often with Mrs Bush. We took notice.
Most Americans took little notice of the President's morning jogs with wounded warriors. These were in fulfillment of promises he had made to them in rehab centers across the land. Get back on your feet, get better, and come run with me. Inspiring? They took heart and we took notice.
While the current C 'n C seems to be addicted to endless rounds of golf, GWB gave up golf for the duration. "It just didn't seem to be right; that some mother who had lost a son to turn the TV on and see me on the links." We understood. We approved. We noticed.
But, it has been Bush's actions AFTER he has left office that continue to endear him to our Service men and women in uniform.
He was the First on the scene of the Fort Hood Massacre when Major Hassan went on his murderous rampage. Again, unnanounced and unescorted, save for Mrs. Bush. They comforted the survivors and commiserated with the wounded and their families. And we were comforted. We noticed.
Recently, at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, he was there to greet returning members of the Texas National Guard from overseas duty. The look on their faces as each had his/her picture taken with the former Commander in Chief, was heartwarming, even precious.
For what gain? None that me or my peers can see. Just love for his former subordinates. Yes. We have noticed and continue to notice.
UPDATE: New York State Board of Elections officials have informed the feds that they have missed the Oct. 1 deadline for mailing overseas absentee ballots to our deployed Service Personnel. That would include the Counties of Westchester, Putnam, Erie, Niagara, and New York City. No comment from the Obama Justice Department. No promise to investigate this oft repeated and shameful neglect of our Troops (who usually vote 3 to 1 Republican). We have noticed. And we vote...
Hugh MacKenzie is a retired Colonel, United States Army.