Tuesday, June 21, 2011
A Peachy Date with W
The 43rd President of the United States was our Peach Festival Luncheon speaker, and I was basically the liaison between his office and ours. I was also the main contact for the US Secret Service. It was a huge job and an enormous responsibility, but one I embraced. I worked really late most nights leading up to the luncheon, and all day Sunday (Father's Day) until nearly 8pm. I received phone calls and texts until the wee hours all week, even at my home. Normally this would bother me, since I do not like to think about work when I am spending time with my family. For this event, however, I was honored. It was a privilege to even be involved, and my husband and daughter were super supportive.
I may write more about it later, but right now I will just tell you I was deeply moved by the President's eloquence and honesty in his speech, and was so impressed by his jovial nature off of the podium. His staff was great, and the Secret Service guys were much more conversational and kind in the days leading up to the event than I ever imagined they would be. During the President's visit they were far more serious, obviously, but for the five days previous to the event (they arrived ahead of time to scope everything out) they seemed like members of OUR team. It was cool.
To top it all off, I was asked to sing the National Anthem before 43's speech. I cannot begin to describe the feeling of standing at the podium singing to our former President. He was standing probably 12 feet in front of me...smiling. When I finished, he started clapping and exclaimed, quite loudly, "Yeah!" It was so overwhelming an experience that it was all I could do to keep from crying. It was such an incredible honor!
I am a huge fan of President George W. Bush. I felt safe when he was in office because of his obvious love for his country, and even moreso, for his verbalized love of Jesus Christ. He is a man of moral character who makes decisions based on his beliefs and values. Meeting him, shaking his hand, and singing for him...well, it was certainly one of the most memorable experiences of my life. While I sit here exhausted, I am warmed by the blessing of a day that very few people will ever have the opportunity to live. I am humbled and oh, so grateful.