The first place I look...

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The George W. Bush Presidential Library

September 11, 2001, the day that changed America forever.  I can still remember exactly what I was doing when I heard the news, and the next few days we were all in a state of shock as we were glued to our televisions for some kind of explanation.  I was reminded of these events today as we visited the George W. Bush Presidential Library on the Southern Methodist University (SMU) campus in Dallas, Tx.  My first impression of the building itself was that of simple, straight lines, but with a majestic undertone set amongst native trees and grasses.  Although we did arrive right at the noon opening, we waited in line about 20 minutes to get inside (be prepared for metal detectors)  Adult admission was $17 per person (but I did get $3 off with my student ID) and parking was $7.  While in the lobby be sure to stop at each of the glass displays to see many of the VERY interesting gifts that were given to the President and Mrs. Bush from leaders from around the globe.  I personally was mesmerized by the diamond and sapphire necklace set given to Laura Bush by Crowned Price Abdullah from Saudi Arabia.  Once you enter the gallery, it is akin to walking along a timeline of President Bush’s years in office.  As you can imagine, the 9/11 exhibit was emotionally staggering and difficult to relive as you came face to face with a massive piece of steel beam, taken from the World Trade Center site, that was twisted and burned.  Looking back, as a nation we were all fortunate to have such a strong, and morally sound leader in office at the time that we suffered those attacks.  His library also included a replica of the White House Oval Office (which I just had to have a picture of myself sitting at the desk), exhibits of his and Laura’s and their daughter’s lives behind the scenes at the White House, the Texas Rose Garden, and many interactive exhibits about his humanitarian efforts and decision points during his Presidency.  It took about 4 hours to go through the entire exhibit, with so much more than I listed here, but of particular interest to me was the actual Glock 9mm pistol that was in Saddam Hussein’s possession at the time of his capture and a full size African lion that was given to Bush by Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete in 2008 (it was as tall as I am standing on all 4 legs).  As with all museums, you exit through the gift shop, although this one was very tastefully done and includes many interesting reads.  I encourage everyone to stop here at least once in their lifetime to remember such a significant time in our nation’s history.  
 (Yes!  I am that girl that spent 4 hours walking around a museum in cast, all while refusing multiple offers of a wheelchair from the very helpful staff there.  ....All for the love of travel!)

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