There have been many lighthearted moments during the past eight years, but there is no escaping that the Bush presidency has been defined by war and the human cost associated with it.
There is also no denying that President Bush takes to heart the costs of that war!
If I had to choose one moment, out of so many, that define who this man is and the respect and love he holds for every single American it would be this one:
"He's the most powerful man in the world," Ashley said, "and all he wants to do is make sure I'm safe, that I'm OK."
'This girl lost her mom in the World Trade Center on 9-11'The video:
By Kristina Goetz
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Thursday, May 6, 2004
During his visit to the Golden Lamb Inn in Lebanon, President Bush stops to hug Ashley Faulkner, who lost her mom in the Sept. 11 attacks.
Photo by Lynn Faulkner
In a moment largely unnoticed by the throngs of people in Lebanon waiting for autographs from the president of the United States, George W. Bush stopped to hold a teenager's head close to his heart.
Lynn Faulkner, his daughter, Ashley, and their neighbor, Linda Prince, eagerly waited to shake the president's hand Tuesday at the Golden Lamb Inn. He worked the line at a steady campaign pace, smiling, nodding and signing autographs until Prince spoke:
"This girl lost her mom in the World Trade Center on 9-11."
Bush stopped and turned back.
"He changed from being the leader of the free world to being a father, a husband and a man," Faulkner said. "He looked right at her and said, 'How are you doing?' He reached out with his hand and pulled her into his chest."
Faulkner snapped one frame with his camera.
"I could hear her say, 'I'm OK,' " he said. "That's more emotion than she has shown in 21/2 years. Then he said, 'I can see you have a father who loves you very much.' "
"And I said, 'I do, Mr. President, but I miss her mother every day.' It was a special moment."
Special for Lynn Faulkner because the Golden Lamb was the place he and his wife, Wendy Faulkner, celebrated their anniversary every year until she died in the south tower of the World Trade Center, where she had traveled for business.
The day was also special for Ashley, a 15-year-old Mason High School student, because the visit was reminiscent of a trip she took four years ago with her mother and Prince. They spent all afternoon in the rain waiting to see Bush on the campaign trail. Ashley remembers holding her mother's hand, eating Triscuits she packed and bringing along a book in case she got bored.
But this time was different. She understood what the president was saying, and she got close enough to see him face to face.
"The way he was holding me, with my head against his chest, it felt like he was trying to protect me," Ashley said. "I thought, 'Here is the most powerful guy in the world, and he wants to make sure I'm safe.' I definitely had a couple of tears in my eyes, which is pretty unusual for me."
The photo has been circulating across the country, Faulkner said. Relatives have passed it on to friends, bosses and acquaintances. As they tell the story, they also share in Wendy Faulkner's legacy, which her family continues through the Wendy Faulkner Memorial Children's Foundation.
"I'm a pretty cynical and jaded guy at this point in my life," Faulkner said of the moment with the president. "But this was the real deal. I was really impressed. It was genuine and from the heart."
The above wasn't the only time President Bush's emotions have been captured on film:
President George W. Bush tears up during a ceremony to present the Medal of Honor posthumously to Navy SEAL Petty Officer Michael Monsoor, in the East Room of the White House in Washington April 8, 2008. Monsoor died after diving onto a grenade during an attack on his combat team's sniper nest on September 29, 2006 in Ramadi, Iraq.
What we don't see are the hundreds of times President Bush has met with the families of fallen soldiers and held their mothers, wives and children in his arms as they cry.
President Bush has led us in the good times, and also helped us deal with the not so good times. His example is the very essence of being a leader. These aren't photo-ops meant to sway public opinion, these are insights into the heart of a caring, capable man!
President George W. Bush, Mrs. Laura Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Mrs. Lynne Cheney bow their heads for a moment of silence on the South Lawn of the White House Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2007, in memory of those whose lives were lost on Sept. 11, 2001. White House photo by Chris Greenberg
President George W. Bush and Laura Bush stand in silence after laying a wreath in the north reflecting pool at Ground Zero September 10, 2006, in commemoration of the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, on the World Trade Center in New York City. White House photo by Kimberlee Hewitt