Spent my Saturday morning with President Bush at SMU
Our son graduated from SMU Law School today. It was a great morning for our family, and an opportunity to catch up with President Bush:
Thousands of students and their families packed Moody Coliseum for the ceremony, which marked the 100th anniversary of school’s spring commencement. Bush was both light-hearted and serious during his speech. He was self-deprecating at times about his speaking and painting skills, and he invoked his faith while prodding graduates to participate in the civic life.
Saturday’s speech was the first Bush has given since leaving office, but his second at SMU. He first spoke at the university in 1999 while governor of Texas. His presidential center is on the campus.
He got a tremendous reception from students and family. It had the feeling of a campaign rally as the crowd started applauding when he and Mrs. Bush walked up to the platform.
The speech had a lot of the Bush that we've grown accustomed to. He joked about Laura, an SMU graduate, and told the audience that he'd be brief. He spoke about faith plus love of country and family.
My favorite part is when he spoke about PM Winston Churchill:
Bush encouraged students to serve others and while doing so, inspire others. He said he was inspired by “the example of many selfless servants,” including former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. He said Churchill inspired him during his presidency and his post-presidency.
“Like Churchill, I now paint,” he said. “Unlike Churchill, the painting isn’t worth much without the signature.”
Referencing a speech Churchill gave in 1941, Bush said that even today some doubt the country’s future.
“Some say America’s best days are behind us,” he said. “I say, given our strengths — one of which is a bright new generation like you — these are not dark days, these are great days.”
He also reminded the students that they live in the US, the greatest country on Earth.
After the ceremony, I walked to get to the car and thanked God that President Bush was in the Oval Office on 9-11.