Tuesday, March 22, 2011

George Bush Library and Museum in College Station, Texas

Monday - March 21st
On our last day in Austin John's cousin and her hubby took us to County Line restaurant for Texas BBQ. This cow was right above our booth and started to talk, telling all kinds of corny jokes. A little girl who came over with her Dad to watch seemed pretty skeptical.

On Sunday we left and spent the night at Caldwell in Burleson County. I took this picture in front of the courthouse on the square. Even the stepping stones are made in the shape of the state of Texas!

On Monday we spent the day at the George Bush Library and Museum in College Station, Texas. This was some class art project and, of course, all the little flags have the Texas star on them.

It is a really nice museum in a beautiful setting. To the left of the building in the plaza is the horse sculpture with a likeness of the Berlin Wall in front. The Berlin Wall was 14 feet tall, 105 miles long and stood over 28 years. It was built by the communists to keep the East Germans from escaping to West Germany separating families and friends from each other. It suddenly and unexpectedly came down on Nov. 9, 1989. The sculpture, by Veryl Goodnight, symbolizes the moment of joy with the horses representing freedom of the human spirit, recognizing all who seek freedom from oppression. The graffiti is replicated from actual graffiti on the Wall. At Bush's request there are 15 names of those killed at the wall representing over 900 who were killed trying to escape. The monument weighs 7 tons and took 3 and a half years. A sister casting is on permanent display at the Allied Museum in Berlin.
There is an actual fullsize piece of the wall inside the museum about 4 feet wide.

When you walk inside the lobby, there is a fullsize replica of President Bush skydiving, hanging from the ceiling. He was one of the youngest pilots in WWII and the youngest to be shot down. In their rotating exhibit room they have an exhibit on women's heart health. It includes a celebrity red dress exhibit and these red dresses that belonged to the last 14 First Ladies including Michelle Obama.

John thought he would sit down and have a chat with old man Bush and maybe solve a few of the world's problems. In one of the rooms they had a TV program with Dana Carvey and Mr. and Mrs. Bush, making fun of how people no longer care what he thinks and don't ask for his advice anymore, since "W" became president. George Bush, Herbert Hoover and John Quincy Adams are supposed to have been the three best prepared to be president, based on their extensive past experiences. I wonder who was the least prepared?

The president received over 5,000 gifts from other countries and heads of state. The Gate of Kuwait was the most special to him. It is made of teak, studded with domed nails and elaborately carved like those once used to provide primary access to the walled homes of leading citzens. It is over 100 years old and framed with plates bearing the names of the American servicemen and women killed during the Gulf War. The inscription quotes an old Kuwaiti proverb, "When a man gives you the key to his home, it means you are the best and most valuable friend to him; when a man gives you the door to his home, it means that you are one of his family." It expresses the gratitude of the Kuwaiti people and honors the Americans who sacrificed their lives for their freedom.

This collection of porcelain dolls of the First Ladies in their inaugural gowns started out as a hobby for Mary Sue Harris of Liberty, Texas when she retired in 1979. Her husband poured the dolls. She painted and dressed them after extensive research into materials, colors, embroidery and beadwork. She enjoyed them for 22 years and gave them a permanent home here.

This beautiful catch and release fishing pond and walking path is behind the museum and classrooms. Engraved on the back side of the building is, "Let future generations understand the burden and blessings of freedom. Let them say we stood where duty required us to stand."
Pres. G. Bush Jan. 1991

This man-made river runs around the lake. The walls are made from rocks sort of baled inside a mesh fence. It is very pretty. If you follow the walkway around the lake and along the river thru the woods, you will come to the Bush's future grave site. Their daughter, Robin, who died of Leukemia at the age of four, is already interred here.

I'm not sure what kind of trees these are, but they were just starting to bud out. Most other trees have been out and blossoming for several weeks already. They said we are just a week or two early for the wildflower blooms, which they say are beautiful all along the highways in Texas.

As we were getting ready to leave, I noticed that the parking lots were numbered. Lot 41 with the four sections nearest to the museum had lots of nice shade trees.

Lot 43 with four sections furthest away and no trees said permit required. We couldn't help but wonder if it was somebody's sense of humor for the 41st and 43rd presidents.

Did you know that Air Force One has anti-aircraft missiles, electronic counter measures (ECMs), things to fire to decoy heat seeking missiles and other classified stuff on board? Every trip is considered a full-scale military operation with the Secret Service, F.B.I. and all five branches of the military involved in the complex logistical plans. It is a Boeing 747 with extensive modifications including medical facilities with fold out operating table, emergency medical supplies and pharmacy. There is a staff doctor on every flight and a full supply of the president's blood type.
That evening we drove on to Crockett, Texas and spent the night at the Walmart parking lot, before moving on toward Louisiana. I have found Texas to be very pretty with lots of hilly, winding roads and lots trees and woodsy areas. It sometimes reminds me of Minnesota and Wisconsin.

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