Architecture, ART, Attractions, DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, Libraries, Museums, Presidential, Road Trips, TRAVEL

The Bush Library in Dallas TX

PRIMARILY PRESIDENTIAL DESTINATIONS: THE GEORGE W.BUSH PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM ON THE SMU CAMPUS

Welcome to my series on Presidential Destinations. The series was supposed to stop with Number 14, Mount Vernon, but even though I live in Dallas, I forgot that it actually has a presidential destination. If you read Number 15, you know that I’m not fond of Dallas’ association with Kennedy’s assassination, but there will soon be a presidential destination here that I’ll be proud to take visitors to: The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.

I Love My Local President

I know GWB’s name is a lightning rod.  People either love him or they hate him.  Here’s your warning:  I’m on the loving team.  I’ll readily admit that, like most human beings, he made mistakes, but I think history will be a lot kinder to him than our modern day talking heads have been.  He’ll be the guy that carried us through the aftermath of 9/11, focused on critical National Security issues and, if our sense of fairness ever returns, his policies will be credited for the capture of Bin Laden.  Many people see him from a completely different point of view.  I acknowledge that and respect it, but this is my blog.

I’m a fan of GWB, but not exactly a groupie.  I remember the excitement created when Laura picked out the Preston Hollow estate for their Dallas home and I was aware that SMU would be the site of his library, but I was in the middle of completing my degree when all the fuss was going on and I really didn’t pay much attention to it.  When you offset your mid-life crisis by returning to school, your brain doesn’t have much room for anything else, but the local papers and evening news were full of it.

I still haven’t driven by their home, but I’m very familiar with the site of the library, thanks to my mom’s CPA.  He’s one of those liberals.  He knows I’m a conservative, but he baits me with liberal propaganda the whole time he’s preparing my parents’ return.  Without the political commentary, it would only take about fifteen minutes for him to plug in the few numbers necessary to complete my parents’ tax return, but we never get out of there in less than an hour.

A few years ago, in an effort to avoid the usual liberal harangue, I glanced out of his high rise office onto a baseball diamond across the highway.  “What a great view,” I said, thinking I’d hit upon a neutral subject – WRONG!  I wasn’t aware that the baseball diamond would soon be a building site for GWB’s library.  It was like Pavlov’s Dogs.  The subject of George W. Bush came up and the liberal in the room started salivating.

If you’re a fan of our forty-third president, you may already be planning a visit to Dallas next year, so you can see the largest presidential library and museum built to date.  If you aren’t a fan, maybe you should plan a visit so you’ll have a chance to hear the other side of the story.  One thing I know for sure, once the library opens my mom’s accountant will have plenty to bend my ear with.

ART, Attractions, DESTINATIONS, Museums, Presidential, Road Trips, TRAVEL, United States

George H.W. Bush Library

Having a "chat" with one of my favorite presidents!
Having a “chat” with one of my favorite presidents!

PRIMARILY PRESIDENTIAL DESTINATIONS: GEORGE H.W. BUSH LIBRARY

Welcome to the third installment of Primarily Presidential Destinations. In the first two blogs of this series, we discussed destinations important to LBJ’s presidency. Since we’re in Texas, we might as well mosey over to College Station and visit the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.

George H.W. Bush from My Point of View

Let me warn you, I’m a big fan of the elder Bush.  If all you know about him is that he was the forty-first president of the United States, then you’ve missed quite an adventure story.  Part of what makes this such a great presidential library and museum is the many roles he played, both personally and politically.

George Herbert Walker Bush was born into a life of privilege.  Some might call him a one-percenter, but perhaps the most important thing he inherited from his very patriotic family was a sense of duty to his country.  When World War II began, he volunteered for the Navy and became one of those pilots that risk their lives every time they land on or take off from an aircraft carrier.  After the war he married Barbara Pierce, which just might be the most important thing that ever happened to him.  He went to Yale and became a wildcatter out in West Texas for a while, to make his own way in the world without tapping into the family fortune.

His political career started when he became Congressman Bush from Texas.  Next was the Ambassadorship to the United Nations.  At a time when Nixon had dirtied the very idea of the Republican Party, Bush became Chairman of the Republican National Convention and brought the party back from the brink.  He served as the US Ambassador to China and then as the Director of the CIA.  After giving Ronald Reagan a run for his money in the 1980 primaries, Mr. Reagan chose him as a running mate.  In this very exciting life, his four years as the leader of the free world seem almost as an afterthought.

The Museum & Library

Each of these facets of Bush’s life is fully fleshed out at his museum and library, so don’t think you’re going to be in and out in under an hour.  You’ll be quickly captured by the history of his early days and won’t want to miss a single detail.  Even if you know everything there is to be known about the man, you’ll find yourself surprised at every corner and you’ll want to cheer his successes.

Bill “assisting” the guards in the China section of the museum

As you can tell from the pictures in this blog, there are some great photo ops at the museum, so don’t forget your camera.  Unfortunately one of the greatest photo ops wasn’t available on the day we were there.  We became quite friendly with one of the docents and he told us the Bushes are very involved with the facility, visiting frequently.  I would have loved to shake any of the Bushes’ hands and have my picture taken with the real McCoy.

Presidential Sightings

Like LBJ, I saw President Bush once while he was in office.  I went to some event I can no longer recall at the Cotton Bowl, but it wasn’t a football game.  When President and Barbara Bush came out onto the field, I was standing just a few feet away from him.  He passed by so quickly that it was over before I knew it was going to happen.  I could have reached out and touched him if I’d realized what was going on.

I’ve seen Mrs. Bush a few more times.  Once at a Texas Rangers game, back in the days when her son owned the team and again I was just a few feet from her, but this time I was in the stands and she was on the field.  I was even closer at a literacy event at SMU.  Unfortunately, it was one of those occasions where everyone is safely in their seats before the luminary personage comes into the room and then you are required to sit until they are whisked away again.

If I sound like a groupie for the Bush family, I guess it’s because I am.  I admire all of them more than I can say.  I found the library and museum to be an excellent and entertaining summary of a great man’s life.  Have you been?  What did you think?