As the Bush presidency winds down its last days, a news item stood out for me this week. It was that President Bush has personally written to the families of every fallen military man and woman since the beginning of the war. In addition, he's met personally with over 900 families of those killed or wounded, facing anger, hatred, and emotional upheaval head on. Often, his wife Laura was there with him.
I've traveled the globe for the last five years with CBN, reporting on wars, tragedies and disasters. In that time, I've seen my share of shattered lives, and I can tell you, it takes an emotional toll. But imagine the drain on our President, not just in grieving with those who grieve, but even in the simple time commitment that must entail for one of the world's busiest men.
And we're just now finding out about it. The press rarely accompanied the President to these meetings -- he did what he did in private, honoring those who sacrificed - troops and their families -- by simply being there.
On September 15, 1999, a gunman entered Wedgwood Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas. He opened fire on a youth gathering, killing eight before turning the gun on himself. My father was there, going about his duties as church administrator. After the gunman took two shots at him, my dad ran into the office and made the first of several calls to 911.
The next day, as a small town of media sprang up around the church, hounding the staff and their families the senior staff at the church was hunkered down at the home of the senior pastor, praying for wisdom. Just as they were bowing their heads, a visitor walked into the room: Texas Governor George W. Bush. Everyone stood in surprise. "Don't mind me," he said. "I'm just here to pray with you. Carry on." He then proceeded to do just that.
That's another story that never made the news. And its yet another reflection of what real leadership looks like. In the intervening nine years, I haven't always agreed with the decisions made by our President. But examples like this solidify my opinion about the kind of character that we all want in a leader. Let's pray that more of our government officials will display that kind of servant heart in the years ahead.