"This aggression will not stand"
George H.W. Bush declaring intent to liberate Kuwait
"This terrorism will not stand"
George W. Bush after the attack on 9/ll
There's something to be said for a man whose first inclination in the face of a crisis is to pray and whose benediction after the most difficult public address of his career is the 23rd Psalm.
That something is this: George W. Bush is a man securely grounded and standing firm on the rock solid foundation laid by the found of the he served as its 43rd President.
Faith in a transcendent God, reverence for the integrity of the family and an unwavering commitment to the preservation of freedom are building blocks in the platform from which he led America through the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and all that came after. When time has passed and accomplished its work as the great liberator, the truth will stand and be known.
No doubt it was a great advantage to grow up in a family with George and Barbara Bush as parents. To have the privilege of a secure and happy childhood followed by prep school and an Ivy League education set George W. on a path to a successful life in business and politics.
There was little about his early life, however, that would have set him apart as a potential candidate for the presidency. In order to hear the heartbeat of this man it is necessary to trace his footsteps as he walked through the crisis of 9/11 and beyond; to understand his words and actions begs a look into his past.
Most Americans remember when the media brought it to their attention that George Bush - Republican candidate for President--had a history of alcohol abuse. Far fewer of those Americans know the story behind his decision to stop drinking and the dramatic impact that decision had on his future.
Very simply and without much fanfare he describes it in his memoir "Decision Points" as a deliverance from the slavery of drinking with a brief description of what he had discovered about why he drank. He goes as far as to say he would never have been President if he had not made the decision to stop.
TREASURE ISLAND - COINS AND PRECIOUS METALS
For him it was a taste of what it was like for the Iraqis to go from the oppression of a dictator to the freedom of democracy. In some ways he had experienced what he would later offer to those who had never felt free to make a choice in their lives. His dependence on alcohol to help him cope with life had summarily robbed him of God's greatest gift and once freed he was impassioned to share his freedom with the others in significant ways.
All that leads to the fateful day in America's history when, in his own words as he addressed the nation "....our way of life was put in jeopardy." It was in the wake of the first attack on the continental US directed to a non-military target since the American Revolution, that the character, conviction and commitment of George W. Bush were most evident to those looking for leadership.
Invoking the "God of grace and God of glory" for wisdom and strength, he then wrote a note to his Father expressing his internal conflict about decisions he knew he would have to make. Finally, his undivided attention was directed toward the fulfillment of what he believed to be his twofold purpose as President of the United States-to protect the people and to defend freedom.
At one point during these first few days, he remembered a morning in church with his mother when she leaned over and whispered, "He (the preacher) is talking to you." The message was based on the life of Moses and God's provision for the power to perform insurmountable tasks. A gentle reminder to trust God for wisdom and strength from a God-fearing parent-brick and mortar needed to reinforce his foundations when the feelings of powerlessness threatened to overwhelm him in the face of tragedy.
Perhaps as the former President continues to "work on his anonymity" the adage recorded in the Scriptures will become true.
"He who exalts himself will be humbled; he who humbles himself will be exalted."
In the meantime, we know without a doubt that to stand on these foundations means that terrorism and acts of aggression will NOT stand.
The 43rd President heard that from his father and it is worth passing along.