Today is the final day of President Bush’s administration. He led the United States of America during a pivotal period in our nation’s history. 9/11 shattered the honeymoon period of his early days in office. Indeed, it inalterably awakened a nation lulled into a false sense of security within its borders. Suddenly we realized that we are not alone. Radical jihadists acted on their threats to bring about terror and mayhem to our national consciousness and physical infrastructure. A few days after the attacks, George W. Bush stood arm-in-arm with New Yorkers and vowed to pursue the terrorists and those that aid and harbor them wherever they may be. The result has been an absence of further attacks for the remainder of his tenure. He kept his promise. And our borders are safer because of it. But the threat is far from gone, and the war on terror is far from over.
I did not agree with some of the decisions Mr. Bush made. Like any president he should be judged based on his policies and actions. He has admitted to some mistakes, and it is likely that he made more errors than even he is aware. Interestingly, he has been criticized for his certitude and resolve with decisions he made and promises he kept. I suppose the pundits and political lackies of the news media would have preferred a more polished way of speaking which lulled listeners into an euphoric sense of equanimity. Style over substance. Instead Mr. Bush told us what he thought, albeit in sometimes faltering speech. If you listen to unrehearsed and unscripted soundbites from the president-elect, you might be amazed to learn that Bush is not the only one who stumbles over a word or two. The difference is with Bush, there is substance. I have yet to hear any substance from President-Elect Obama. Tomorrow I will reflect more on the new president.
For now, I want to thank President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush for their years of leadership. Thank you for the personal price you have paid during these trying years of global change. My prayers are with you as you lay aside the burden you have carried for so long. May the next years of your life be full of joy and peace. May the abiding hope of Jesus Christ fill your hearts and lives all your remaining days.