Dear Mr. Former President Bush,
For eight years, you have served us. You expected us to do nothing in return, but you just kept on making the tough choices that only the most decent of people would have to make in your position. Up against opposition both inside and outside of the country that you love – that both of us love – you ignored your critics and only kept making those tough choices. You did a thankless job, and you deserve many thanks for it.
I would salute you, but I have not earned the right. Having never served in the great U. S. military myself, I have not earned the right to salute at all – much less salute one of the finer Commanders-In-Chief that this country has had. I know that many would argue with me on that point, or shake their head and call me simple or worse, but it them that are mistaken. It is they who cannot see the good that you have done for us. If they could get over their own jaded pride, they would thank you too.
When you stood in front of the American People, declared a war on terror, and said that if terrorists were going to attack U. S. soil again, they would have to go through you, I will admit that I was not one of those in the crowd cheering your words. I thought you were crazy for saying that. Others cheered because of the promise, but I was skeptical because of the loftiness of that promise. I didn’t see any way that we could possibly mount a successful attack on such a specter as ‘terror.’ To me, the proposal to hunt down terrorists and those that harbor them sounded much like flailing at smoke. But, you kept your word, and for that I will gladly and humbly admit that I was wrong. Thank you for that.
You successfully pushed to spread Freedom and Liberty to places where it has previously been foreign. You pushed to send medicine and medical research to places were there were no such things previously. You fought to research cures for some of the more resistant and ravaging illnesses that we as humans have faced. The people of the world owe you a debt of gratitude for the humanitarian service you have so freely given. And today, America has allies that were enemies ten years ago.
The lines on your face and the gray in your hair that were not there eight years ago bear witness to how tirelessly you have served us. History will show that you were among the greatest of servants, unshakable in your convictions, with strong faith, and a heart as big as your home state. We have only ever seen you show deep, personal respect to the people around you, whether the press, your staff, members of the armed forces, or random citizens. That’s probably the reason you never tired of serving – when you looked at people you saw individuals with their own views, problems, leanings, personalities, and individual life story. Nobody is simply a number to you. You deserve our deepest gratitude for that.
Yesterday evening, your plane flew over my house at about 6:00. At least we assume it was you. I don’t know who else would have been flying through the area in a four-engine jet escorted by a handful of Chinooks. It was a bittersweet moment for my family and me. We hate to see you go, but we know that it is time. You have earned your retirement, and you deserve to relax. I hope that you were able to impart some of your wisdom to your successor in the short time that you worked with him prior to handing over the office. I suppose that time will tell.
I have seen others expressing their appreciation for you as well. Some of them have been no surprise at all while others seem the most unlikely to sing your praise, but their words are heartfelt, thoughtful, and relatable. With all of the excitement over the new President, you ought to know that there are those of us out here that appreciate you, and will tip our hat to your leaving office with only the most sincere of reverence.
So, here’s to you, Mr. Bush! Rest well and God bless! Keep the faith, and know that you are appreciated. Next time I’m coming through Crawford, I’ll bring the beer.
Evyl Robot Michael