I reproduce below, with their permission, an open letter to the outgoing President from a Republican and a Democrat. It crystallizes far more eloquently than I could, how much we owe to the Commander In Chief, and highlights the measure of grace with which he and John McCain accepted defeat, which sharply contrasts with the poor grace with which the liberal left hailed their victory.
"By Perry Atkinson and Bob Just
Dear President Bush
As you near the time of your presidential farewell, we want to take this moment to thank you for all you have done for this country. We also want you to know that you are in our prayers not only for the remainder of your term of office, but also for what we hope will be a many wonderful years ahead for you and Mrs. Bush. We know you will both continue to serve the country you love, and we thank you for that in advance.
As you prepare your farewell address, and reflect on the last eight years, we would like to thank you specifically for several things, beginning with your bold leadership in the War on Terror.
Many have now forgotten, but we remember the shock and confusion that descended on this country, not only due to the sudden and terrible loss of innocent American lives, but because none of us understood this new kind of war, or how to fight it, or what catastrophic dangers might lay ahead.
You galvanized the nation not only with stirring and true words before Congress but because you backed those words with decisive action, sending an immediate message to our enemies that while America's free and open society remained vulnerable to attack, the United States had the power and the will to deliver a devastating counterattack.
Totalitarian bullies have always respected power, and we thank you for not shrinking from your duty to use the power given to you in trust by the American people. Coupled with your aggressive leadership in securing the homeland, the actions you took abroad have led to many years of safety, which no American could have predicted on that fateful September morning over seven years ago.
You warned us many times that this asymmetric, terrorist form of total war could go on for years – and yes, we know that despite your success, our enemies will one day find the moment they seek to deliver the next blow. Nevertheless, a standard of presidential action has been set: No accommodation for terrorists or, ultimately, for the nations that support and encourage them.
Many have forgotten, but we remember that millions upon millions of human beings were liberated during your presidency, freed from a tyranny full of horrors few of us can even imagine. You waged war not only against terrorism, but also for a higher ground – for freedom. In this, you gave the world a choice. For truly, as you said, all people, no matter what their race or religion, are created with a longing for liberty.
Americans died in these foreign lands that others might live – and live free. Let this continued sacrifice of life and limb always remind us of the true nature of the American heart. Thank you for knowing and appreciating that true heart, and for always honoring our troops who so perfectly represent the best of who we are as a people.
Most importantly, we thank you also for honoring God, not only as you rallied this country in time of war, but as you called us to our better selves by honoring the sanctity of life – for what is liberty without that? Thank you for reminding us that life, including that of unborn children, must be protected and nourished in a just society. Thank you too for defending marriage and family and through them, for protecting our children and our national future. Your leadership in these areas will not be forgotten.
Finally, as Christians, we are grateful for how you represented Christ in office, often under temptation to mirror the mean-spiritedness of current politics.
Your continual civility under great pressure, and sometimes in the face of genuine hatred from fellow citizens, has set a good example for us all – and especially for those who will occupy that office in the future. For these things especially, you will be remembered and greatly missed.
Perry Atkinson - Republican
Robert Just - Democrat"