Monday, April 23, 2018

Honoring Barbara Bush

I know I joke a lot about living in Hooterville - 99% of the time, it's a small town with limited shopping options, which you all know is important to me, hah.  But it is home to a big university, Texas A&M, and it's also home to the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, so when former first lady Barbara Bush died on Tuesday, Hooterville - also known as College Station - hit the news, as that's where the Bush burial plot is for Barbara, George, and their young daughter Robin, who died when she was three years old.

The funeral was held on Saturday morning in Houston, and then the 90 mile family motorcade began, taking Mrs. Bush to her final resting place in College Station.  Earlier in the week, when the route for the motorcade was announced, I told Jeff that I wanted to be there - it felt like something we should do, not only to honor a woman who spent a great deal of her life in service, making an impact on so many lives, but also to show support to her family as they drove by.  I've seen her, George, and their dogs walking around the library grounds a couple of times when I've been there, and they've waved at me, so it felt right to give her one last wave as the motorcade drove by.

The media advised everyone to be in place by 2:00 pm, so right around 1:00 pm we drove to a shopping center near the intersection of Texas Avenue and George Bush Drive, where the motorcade would be traveling down and turning as they made their way to the library.  We met up with Julia and staked our spot on the sidewalk - it wasn't crowded, but I think a lot of people were biding time in their vehicles, as it was a cool day with intermittent rain.  We should have brought folding chairs, but we were fine - we chatted with people around us and got text and Facebook updates from friends further south, saying what time the motorcade had passed through their area.

Police vehicles kept driving by while the road was still open, and then finally they blocked traffic at the intersections, which meant the motorcade was getting close.  But before the procession came through, an odd-looking, probably full of hidden cameras and weapons, white truck-type of vehicle drove by, with a man sitting facing the window on the passenger side, STARING DEEP INTO OUR SOULS as it drove by.  It was very disconcerting - I mean, I knew there were probably Secret Service agents watching the crowds, of course, but to get the stare-down like that was odd - and we all noticed how intense it was.  I've been to the White House and Capitol building and have gone through security and scrutiny, but I guess there's a big difference when it's miles of people lining the street versus more of a controlled situation like in a building.
 
Julia and I, wearing our pearls for Barbara.  It was sweet - everywhere we looked, women and little girls alike were wearing pearls to honor her.
Jeff and I - umbrellas everywhere because if it's a Saturday in April, it's going to be raining here.
Once the road was closed we crossed to stand in the median - that's where I took these pictures.
People were lined up as far as I could see - turns out, it was about 4.5 miles of people, wow!

The police came by and had everyone move back to one side of the road - I guess the median was too close for the passing motorcade.  We heard short bursts of sirens in the distance and the crowd got quiet, and then we could see the motorcade coming toward us.  At that point I put my phone on video and held it at waist-height, hoping that I was capturing something, but I wanted to watch the procession with my eyes and not through the camera lens.  The video is below - if you listen, you can hear the surprised roar of the crowd when everyone realizes that George W - Barbara's son, and the 43rd President - is waving at us as they go by.


It was all over pretty quickly.  The motorcade turned onto George Bush Drive, and then when they turned onto Barbara Bush Drive, which leads up to the library, over 700 Corps of Cadets from A&M were lined up - it was a nice tribute to a lovely woman.
Yes she was.

11 comments:

  1. How wonderful that you were able to be out there as the motorcade drove by. Barbara Bush was an amazing lady and a throwback to a more genteel era. We need some of that now.

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  2. Very cool that you guys were able to watch the motorcade. My mom and I watched some of the funeral on Saturday. I was 8-12 years old when Bush Sr. was in office, so what I remember most is the story about how Bush hated broccoli and Mrs. Bush was threatening to serve him a meal made up entirely of broccoli, including broccoli ice cream for dessert. My mom got such a hoot out of that at the time, since her kids also hated broccoli, and used to make the same threats.

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  3. I love that you guys did this and did it in style with pearls!

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  4. Wow, right in your own town! What a lovely tribute. I loved reading this whole post, and even hearing about the creepy Secret Service guy! I'm so glad you went and shared this with us.

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  5. Thanks for sharing this experience with us!

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  6. What an amazing experience! She was a lovely woman.

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  7. Thanks for sharing this! I had no idea that the presidential library and museum and burial plots were there. It's so neat you got to experience this, and I love that all the women were wearing their pearls!

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  8. I had chills reading this! What a neat experience to take part in (and so cool y'all got a wave)! A friend of mine met Bush Sr one year while running the Houston Full...she was to the moon with excitement!

    I also wore my pearls last week to honor Barbara! Such a classy woman!

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  9. That was a wonderful opportunity to be able to honor someone in this way and to be a part of one of those moments that unites everyone.

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