This is a small, but true story to give
you an idea of the kind of man and the kind of woman we have
in the White House right now. As you may know, the President
and Mrs. Bush visited the Washington Burn Center on Friday
September14th. Among those they visited was LTC Brian
Birdwell, who was badly burned in the Pentagon attack. Mrs.
Bush went into Brian's room, spoke to him for about a
minute, all the time as if they had been life-long
acquaintances. She then turned to Brian's wife Mel, who at
this time had been at the hospital for probably 2 1/2 days,
and apparently, according to Mel, herself, was dirty, grimy
and had blood on her shirt. Mrs. Bush hugged Mel for what
Mel said seemed like an eternity, just as if Mel were one of
her closest family members. Mrs. Bush then told Brian and
Mel that there was "someone" there to see him. The President
then walked in, stood by Brian's bedside, asked Brian how he
was doing, told him that he was very proud of them both and
that they were his heroes. The President then saluted Brian.
Now, at this point in time, Brian is bandaged up pretty
well. His hands are burned very badly as well as the back of
him from the head down. His movements were very restricted.
Upon seeing the President saluting him, Brian began to
slowly return the salute, taking, from the accounts so far,
about 15-20 seconds to get his hand up to his head. During
all of this, 15-20 seconds, President Bush never moved,
never dropped his salute. The President dropped his salute
only when Brian was finished with his, and then gave Mel a
huge hug for what also probably seemed like an eternity. As
a note to those of you who might not be familiar with
military protocol, the subordinate normally initiates a
salute and will hold it until the superior officer returns
In the above incident, President Bush acted in the role
of the subordinate to show his respect and high regard for
the injured man.
No further comments.
Pray for our leadership.
Thank God for what we are, have, and will be.
Major Carl "Ferris" Buhler, USAF
Air Force Executive Issues Team (AFPAZ)