Sunday, May 28, 2017

Tacos and a President

Memorial Day weekend came without any real plans. I chatted with my friend Suzi on her plans for the weekend, and we decided to join forces to do something in the metroplex that we both had wanted to see - the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

We drove to the train station and hopped on the DART train to take us to the center. There was some track working being done, so we had to get off the train and take a shuttle bus between two stations. This can be annoying sometimes, but when you're not in a hurry it's not generally a big deal. We all like to take transit so we weren't complaining.

We stopped at Torchy's Tacos first to fill our bellies with food. The queso was delicious.

We then made the short walk to the SMU campus and the Presidential Center. It's not a library per se, as the brochure notes. It's more of a center for artifacts and other items from the President's life. The National Archives does have an office there.

What I most wanted to see was the Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief's Tribute to America's Warriors exhibit, a showcase of President Bush's painted portraits of military men and women. The portraits are bright and a bit odd, but I found them lovely and fascinating.

The center showcases the life and presidency of George W. Bush. I loved the old photos of George and Laura (her wedding dress is fantastic). There is a photo of W. being sworn in as Governor of Texas with his dad looking on with tears in his eyes; it's quite striking.

With W. being President during the 9/11 attacks, a large part of the center is dedicated to the attacks, the reaction, and the policies and actions that followed. President Bush was set to focus on other issues such as health care, immigration, but understandably was changed to terrorism, national security, and defense.

The Center has an official, life-size exact replica of the Oval Office when Bush was president. Each president gets to decorate the office as they want. Bush, obviously, had a lot of Texas touches to his Oval Office. The rug was commissioned by FLOTUS from a Fort Worth artist and features a "shining sun" motif. The art on the wall was from Texas artists, featuring blue bonnets and cowboys.

The replica Oval Office leads out to the Texas Rose Garden, just as in real life it leads to the Rose Garden. The Center has a lovely open space and trail system behind it. It's a nice block to the freeway and rushing cars.

Even though I am not a supporter of W.'s policies, I respect him as a person, a husband, and a citizen. He has done many things for veterans since leaving office. The Center did a good job of not being overly partisan or political (for a place that exists solely because a person was POTUS). I enjoyed seeing him as a human other than a politician to be parodied or idolized. Texas has two other Presidential Libraries (LBG and Bush Sr.)...I might have to plan some trips!



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