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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Panelists close to 41st president speak on his life-long dedication to public service

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Photo by Annie Lui

This year’s President’s Day Celebration is held in honor of President George H.W. Bush. 

To honor President George H.W. Bush and celebrate President’s Day, a panel was held at Texas A&M featuring two people who worked closely with the 41st president during his life of public service.

 

The panel was held at the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center Monday evening. The speakers included Jean Becker, chief of staff to Bush after his time in office and Andrew Card, White House deputy chief of staff from 1989-1992 and then Bush’s secretary of transportation. The two led a conversation about the former president, covering the time from his swearing in ceremony to his burial ceremony on A&M’s campus in December. The evening began and ended with videos, the first showing highlights of Bush’s life and the second a series of photos from Bush’s funeral procession. The stories told throughout the evening brought many in the audience to tears, while other stories caused a roar of laughter.

 

Card started by discussing a time in the 1970s when he first met Bush. At the time, Bush was giving a speech and served as the chairman of the National Republican Committee.

 

“But George H.W. Bush was, number one a good person, and number two proudly carried the Republican label,” Card said.

 

Becker focused on Bush’s time spent in service after his term as President. She told stories such as Bush skydiving, shaving his head for a secret service agent’s child diagnosed with leukemia, and the One America Appeal concert held at A&M last year.

 

“Working for President Bush was an incredible honor and privilege,” Becker said. “I think a day did not go by that I did not learn something from him.”

 

Becker said the fact that every living former president attended the One America Appeal concert that Bush invited them to was a sign of the high opinion the men held of Bush.

 

Jasmine Walia, second year Public Service and Administration and Chief Ambassador for Bush School Ambassadors Council, said this event was a chance for the audience to hear from two people who knew and worked closely with Bush.

 

“This is a really great opportunity tonight to hear from two people who were extremely close with President Bush which I think is very exciting for both the Bush School and Library and Foundation, as well as the community,” Walia said. “I think we all feel a really strong connection to President Bush in the Bryan-College Station community.”

 

Steve McKnight, second year Public Service and Administration graduate student, said this was a memorable night as this was the first President’s Day since Bush’s death.

 

“I think it also makes us think a lot more about making sure that we live up to the legacy of public service,” McKnight said. “…You can’t go very far without seeing the quote that public service is a noble calling and I think that’s just reemphasized with his passing and then reflecting on his life.”

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