Several Dallas Realtors attended yesterday’s remarkable dedication for the George W. Bush Presidential Center, including independent agent Mickey Stuart and Dave Perry-Miller’s Steve Collins. I have not heard from her yet, but am certain Allie Beth Allman and Pierce were included, and Kari Schlegel may have accompanied her parents. Mickey, a Dartmouth buddy, gave me a full report, and shared some fabulous photos:
“One of the most interesting things was riding DART — because of security they had blocked off all the streets around SMU so people were encouraged to use DART. Basically, it was unless you have a motorcycle escort do not have anyone dropping you off. I live north, so I took a Dart bus to the Richardson Arapaho station where I got on the red line rail line for the first time (!) and headed south down Central down to Mockingbird Station. I think we arrived about 8:00 a.m. Shuttle busses were waiting to take us to the event at SMU, where golf carts took everybody closer to the seating area. You had to have your ticket and photo ID. Securing was as tight as airport security, you had to walk through a metal detector, but everyone was gracious and not intrusive. (Note: Mickey did get “wanded”.) It was a gorgeous day, cloudless sky, great day to be outdoors. I saw folding chairs set up for 10,000 people. Because of my long-time relationship with GWB, I somehow got into the VIP Section right in front of podium, sitting with Ohio Senator Robert Portman (also a Dartmouth grad), Jim Baker, Karl Rove, Don Evans, Rex Tillerson, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, David Dewhurst, Tom Ridge and Dick Cheney.
Nearby were Governor Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, John Cornyn, Mike Rawlings, Ed Cox, Ray Hunt, Trevor Rees Jones, Steve Collins, Rick Perry, Nancy Dedman, Alphonso Jackson (now head of JP Morgan Chase banking ops in NYC), Jim Baker, Jerry Ford, Jerry Jones and respective spouses.
Military buglers lined the top of the new center. The First Ladies walked out first, took their seats, then came the presidents. Condoleeza Rice came up and welcomed the visiting dignitaries from other countries, like former prime minister Japan, Yoshihiko Noda, the prime minister of Australia John Howard, Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi, Secretary General of NATO, and the former president of Ghana. Tony Blair was there, also. All presidents spoke in this order: Carter, Clinton, H.W. Bush, and Obama, each saying nice things. Then Laura Bush spoke, and then George W. did his magic.
There was a VIP reception at the Bush center immediately after, then a VIP luncheon set up with 30 or 40 tables. Then it was back to Mockingbird Station, DART to Richardson and the bus.
Thursday night was the invitation-only block party for members of the SMU community and Bush people, very informal, about 3000 people plus great food from the food trucks. There was a soundstage with Jack Ingram, then when it got dark people were invited to the Bush Center where they lit Freedom Hall for the very first time and set off fireworks outside.
Then back to the shuttles and DART. It was really a very memorable experience and once in a life-time opportunity, and Jeanne Johnson Phillips pulled it off flawlessly!”