As I think back on that remarkable day, I have had a flood of memories of unique events and vignettes from that day. While I won’t go into exhaustive detail, I will share two stories from that day that I have found memorable and inspiring over the years. The first came as we found our way to the “green room” behind the stage at the resort hosting the event. The plan was for me to go on stage after the meetings’ lunch break, share some prepared remarks and introduce the President. He suggested that I “not go too far away offstage” since we were going to do a Q&A session immediately at the end of his remarks. Stage direction from such a pro, … I was honored! As I was thinking about this idea of “staying close,” he asked in a quiet tone if I could “help navigate” the Q&A session. At first I didn’t understand where he was going until he pointed to his hearing aid and said that he wasn’t sure that he was going to hear 100% of the audiences’ questions and that maybe I could summarize and repeat the questions from the audience. It was a very unexpected moment of vulnerability, and one that I will never forget. I proudly played the role of “navigator,” the audience filled with interesting questions and the President totally in command of the moment.
A second memory comes from the flight back to Houston. I had so many questions for President Bush and as we took our seats on the plane, I was eager to dive into my list! (What a surprise.) He sat down and immediately brought out his brief case and opened it in his lap. It was and “attaché “ style case, and opened in a 90-degree fashion. He immediately took out a stack of personalized note cards and said to me that it was his practice to immediately write “thank you notes” for the hosts and key individuals from the event. He asked me to help him highlight the key notes that needed to be written. We went over the event and he wrote out personalized notes to 4-5 key executives that had hosted the meeting and our visit to Phoenix. I had the honor to receive a few of those notes personally; an image of one is highlighted above.
I have so many memories, and took so many “lessons” away from that special day in 2005. President Bush has left a significant legacy on our world, our nation and on yours truly.
I feel so fortunate to have had the chance to spend that day with him, so fortunate to be able to ask so many questions, and receive so many insights and in that same spirit I am thankful to have had a chance to pay my respects yesterday as he was lying in state at the nations capitol.
A chilly night with my friend Cathy, waiting in line with thousands of others all who came to Washington with the same wish as Americans (not Democrat or Republican, but as Americans) to pay our respects to an individual who had a significant impact on our generation.
While certainly a somber and poignant moment on that chilly night, I was somehow reminded by the President’s great sense of humor, his friendly nature and his infectious smile. These are memories that I will hold dearly for my lifetime and am grateful and proud to share with you as readers.
day or so with my dear friend and longtime work partner Cathy. We have known each other, and have worked
closely together, for more than 20 years and if I do say so myself, Cathy and I
make a pretty darn good team! Using the
visit as planning time for our consulting practice and a good trip for the
soul, we spent part of our time “wrapping up” 2017 billing and tax plans and
turning our eyes towards 2018 and trying to pre-plan the client list and travel
plans for as much of Q1 as possible. The
consulting business is thriving and while I never quite know where the next new
clients might come from, it has been an exciting year with 14 clients
year-to-date and 8 active client projects underway as we finish the year. I feel very fortunate to have a thriving
business that crosses so many companies and industries, with so many wonderful
clients, and I feel especially lucky to be able to keep working with Cathy!!
high of 25 and a howling wind, but that didn’t deter us! Once we finished the
planning work for the business, we headed out into the cold and drove down to
Arlington National Cemetery. Cathy’s
mother-in-law is buried there and I had never been there in all my trips to
Washington over the years and was very eager to pay a visit.
bundling up in scarves, hats, gloves, etc.
we parked the car in the main parking lot and headed out to walk around
the cemetery and visit a number of sights.
Arlington National Cemetery is a stunning place, massive in size and
beautiful in its rolling hills and amazing vistas of the city. Heading out of the visitor center we headed
south to go find Cathy’s mother-in-law’s grave.
cemetery that morning and we came upon two where troops of soldiers on
horseback were pulling caissons carrying flag-draped caskets. It was a sobering and inspiring moment, literally
something out of a movie, hearing the lone drummer leading the horses and
soldiers, heading to a corner of the cemetery for a graveside service with
families in the procession. A sobering
reminder of the fragility of life and the massive sacrifice made by so many on
behalf of our country! Pausing in
respect for the passing caissons, we continued our walk and quickly found our
way to the grave of Cathy’s mother-in-law, Norma Jean (“Penny”) Halberg.
incredible life story that included her service during WWII as a “Women
Airforce Service Pilot” or “WASP.” You
can read more about this amazing group at the following link but what an
inspiring story of these young women, serving our country during the war,
“ferrying” aircraft all over the world. (http://ift.tt/1JyItaf)
Moving on from Penny’s grave we made our way up to the tomb
of the Unknown Soldier, with a sentry standing guard to honor the fallen all
over the world. Clearly inspiring in
it’s own right, I was struck by the vista from the height of the monument. The way the cemetery is built, the tomb of
the Unknown Soldier sits up on a bluff, and looks down across the sea of
gravestones, then across the Potomac and straight to the U.S. Capital.
and one that struck me dramatically.
With all of the political machinations of the current day, this tomb,
and this entire cemetery, stands as a poignant reminder of the service and
sacrifice of so many for the ideals and promise of our country. This service and sacrifice calls for those in
the capital building below, and candidly all of us, to put away our petty
partisan squabbles and intrigues and renew our focus on the truly important
values of “freedom, tolerance and
equality of opportunity” (quoted from a speech given by JFK just before his assassination
in 1963, who is buried not far from the tomb of the Unknown Soldier in
inspired by her mother-in-law Penny, I left my visit to Arlington National
Cemetery inspired and uplifted, focused and energized by the potential that
lies in our future, built on a massive foundation of service and sacrifice of
those that have come before us!