Re­call­ing spe­cial Rose Gar­den event

The Enterprise - - Community Forum -

The death of for­mer Pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush on Fri­day prompts this rec­ol­lec­tion of him and the first lady, Bar­bara Bush.

In 1990, I got a call from the Falls Church, Va., chief of po­lice (I was the town’s vice mayor at the time) invit­ing me to a White House Rose Gar­den cer­e­mony the fol­low­ing day. It was the an­niver­sary of the DARE pro­gram de­signed to ed­u­cate sixth-graders about the dan­gers posed by il­le­gal drugs.

Los An­ge­les Po­lice Chief Daryl Gates, whose staff de­vel­oped the pro­gram, were fly­ing in from Cal­i­for­nia to en­joy the hon­ors. While Gates brought his en­tire staff, it was de­cided to in­vite lo­cal sixth-graders rather than fly stu­dents from the West Coast. My daugh­ter, Er­ica, was pres­i­dent of her sixth-grade class, so was in­vited and the po­lice chief thought I would en­joy shar­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence with her.

My seat was in the first row of the Rose Gar­den, clos­est to the Oval Of­fice. When the pres­i­dent and first lady walked out, both smiled and shook my hand, then pro­ceeded to the podium to ren­der hon­ors to Chief Gates for the pro­gram. At the end of the pro­gram, the first lady ex­ited the podium first, and I stepped for­ward, shook her hand, and said, “good job.” She re­peated, “Good job? What the hell did I do?” Such a real and nat­u­ral per­son.

The pres­i­dent then ap­proached, pat­ted me on the shoul­der, and left. What a guy. What a cou­ple.

Gary Knight, Lex­ing­ton Park

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