George W., Laura Bush, Barack Obama Speak at African American Museum Dedication

It’s called civility.
The picture of “the hug” between President Bush and First Lady Michelle Obama
has gone viral around the world.

In 2003, a bipartisan bill sponsored by Congressman John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Senator Sam Brownback (R-Ks.) to create a National African American Museum of History and Culture was sent to President George W. Bush’s desk in the White House. The president insisted the museum should be located on the National Mall.

Thirteen years later President Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush, who worked with the museum, were speakers at the dedication and opening ceremony along with the first African American President of the United States, Barack Obama, and First Lady Michelle Obama.

From the Bush Center, here are the remarks by Mrs. Laura Bush and former President George W. Bush at Saturday’s dedication of the National African American Museum of History.

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Teaching our children kindness in an age of anything goes

Isn’t this what we try to teach our children? A thoughtful football team, a learning-disabled friend, and Olivet, Michigan. This two-year-old story is as relevant today as it was when first aired.

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Natural Bridge Becomes Virginia’s Newest State Park, Free Admission Saturday

natural-bridge-1On Saturday, Virginia’s Natural Bridge, the iconic span of rock once owned by Founding Father Thomas Jefferson, will officially become part of the Virginia State Parks — all 1,531 acres.  In the move to protect the internationally known state and national treasure, it becomes the Commonwealth’s 37th park.

The public has been invited to join in the big celebration this weekend with free admission, entertainment, and an official dedication at 10:00am by federal, state, and local officials. The new manager will be James Jones, currently the assistant manager of James River State Park.

In recent years tight finances and less visitors resulted in a property that had become worn and dated with many reminders harkening back to the 1960s. In 2014 when the owners wanted to sell, the nonprofit Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund, Inc. (VCLF) that works to conserve natural resources while encouraging use and play in the outdoors stepped in to purchase the historic site for $9 million.

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2016 Presidential Debate Schedule

debate-1With the 2016 election looming on November 8, three presidential debates are scheduled between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton, and one vice presidential debate between Republican Mike Pence and Democrat Tim Kaine. Will Trump call Hillary low energy? Will Hillary point out Trump’s orange head?

All debates will be moderated by a single individual and will run from 9:00-10:30 p.m. Eastern Time without commercial breaks. Moderators will select the questions to be asked. Mark you calendars, political junkies … here are the dates and details as provided by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

Only Vice Presidential Debate
Tuesday, October 4, 2016
Moderator: Elaine Quijano, CBSN, CBS News
Location: Longwood University, Farmville, VA

The Vice Presidential debate will be divided into nine time segments of approximately 10 minutes each. The moderator will ask an opening question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond. The moderator will use the balance of the time in the segment for a deeper discussion of the topic.

First Presidential Debate
Monday, September 26, 2016
Moderator: Lester Holt, NBC Nightly News
Location: Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY

The first debate will be divided into six time segments of approximately 15 minutes each on major topics to be selected by the moderator and announced at least one week before the debate. The moderator will open each segment with a question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond. Candidates will then have an opportunity to respond to each other. The moderator will use the balance of the time in the segment for a deeper discussion of the topic.

Second Presidential Debate
Sunday, October 9, 2016
Moderator: Martha Raddatz, Co-Anchor of “This Week,” ABC
Moderator: Anderson Cooper, CNN
Location: Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO

The second presidential debate will take the form of a town meeting, in which half of the questions will be posed directly by citizen participants and the other half will be posed by the moderator based on topics of broad public interest as reflected in social media and other sources. The candidates will have two minutes to respond and there will be an additional minute for the moderator to facilitate further discussion. The town meeting participants will be uncommitted voters selected by the Gallup Organization. Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Third Presidential Debate
Moderator: Chris Wallace, Fox News Sunday
Location: University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV

The format for the third debate will be identical to the first presidential debate.

Cross-posted at Bearing Drift


Jeb Bush Makes Cameo Appearance With Jimmy Kimmel at Emmys

Jeb Bush made a surprise cameo appearance at Sunday night’s Emmy awards. In the opening minutes of the show, he and host Jimmy Kimmel had a hilarious exchange with Jeb as the Uber limousine driver. Stephanie Merry with the Washington Post was impressed:

Kimmel tried to get into the presidential limo with “Veep’s” Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus). She declined, but her chauffeur offered to let him sit up front. And the driver was none other than Jeb Bush. “I’m between jobs,” he explained. He was even wearing a uniform, topped off with a little [chauffeur] hat.

His comic timing was surprisingly impressive as he delivered a few choice lines.

“Are you nominated?” Bush asked Kimmel, and the late-night host replied yes. “Wow, what’s that like?” Bush asked.

Bush then asked whether Kimmel thought he could win, but Kimmel wasn’t so sure.

“If you run a positive campaign, the voters will ultimately make the right choice,” Bush said. Kimmel seemed heartened until Bush said, “Jimmy, that was a joke,” then threw him out of the limo.

Pumping his fist in the air, Bush exclaimed, “Jeb exclamation point!” and peeled out, showing that well-known self-deprecating Bush family humor. As one commenter noted, “Restoring my faith in the political process, one zinger at a time.”

Cross-posted at Bearing Drift


Gas Shortages Hit NC, Virginia May Be Next


Gas shortages have hit North Caroline with customers lined up at stations that still have inventory on hand. Sunday morning my Asheville cousin’s Facebook page noted, “Finally found gas at the 5th station we went to. $20 limit.”

I obviously had missed something when hearing news of the broken Alabama gas line and, though it was mentioned that prices could jump, nowhere had I read about shortages. A quick google search told the tale:

Governor McCrory’s office declared a state of emergency in North Carolina due to the gas shortage expected from a major pipeline burst in Alabama.

Locally, by Saturday afternoon stations in some counties began restricting purchases to only 10 gallons, and some stations are completely out of gas for the time being.

The governor’s office declared a state of emergency to help prevent gouging of consumers.

In Asheville, the Citizen-Times reported:

Lines of drivers could be seen bumper-to-bumper winding around several gas station parking lots throughout Asheville. Some lines extended onto streets such as Merrimon Avenue or Amboy Road and blocked traffic.

A handful of service stations capped how much gas people could put in their cars, limiting motorists to 10 gallons or $20 worth of fuel. Several service stations were forced to put red plastic bags over their pumps because they ran out of gas.

Get ready, Virginia — we could be next. Officials believe Virginia could join North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama, in facing possible shortages. If stations resort to even/odd license plate numbers, those who lived through the gas lines of the 1970s will know the drill.

No word yet on how long the shortages may last.

Cross-posted at Bearing Drift

Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili


Photo from Gina’s Recipes

I was so glad to have the crock pot going today with this yummy concoction because I was late getting home this evening … walked in the door … and smelled yummy smells of Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili coming from the kitchen. With out-of-town company visiting, it was a perfect match. I doubled the batch which filled my crock pot to the tippy top and, though I was a little worried it would bubble over, it stayed safely in the pot.

I made absolutely no adjustments to this recipe … took the easy way and used packets of taco seasoning. Tomorrow it will be even better after the flavors meld overnight. First time for this recipe and it’s a keeper. Enjoy!

Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili


  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 (15.5 oz) can black beans, drained
  • 1 (15.5 oz) can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 10 oz package frozen corn kernels
  • 2 (10 oz) cans diced tomatoes w/chilies
  • 4 oz can chopped green chili peppers, chopped
  • 1 packet reduced sodium taco seasoning or homemade (see below)
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 24 oz (3) boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

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The 9/11 Sound Sculpture … a Virginian Designs a Voice For the Silent


Xaver Wilhelmy
Master Craftsman of Pianos and Organs
Geshenke as Glas Studio, Harrisonburg, Va

A work of art emerged from the sorrow of 9/11, a vision insired by the loss of 2,996 souls, and intended to “speak” for each of the perished. Staunton master craftsman Xaver Wilhelmy envisioned this one-of-a-kind pipe-organ featuring glass pipes, a medium he was the first in the world to use, emblazond with the American flag. There would be one pipe to represent each of the 2,996 so their voices would not be permanetly silenced, and so he enlisted the help of Staunton artist Bob Kirchman to design and bring the dream to life.

“I thought, one ought to remember the life. One ought to remember the interaction, the voices of people,” Wilhelmy would later say.

The dream slowly became reality as Wilhemy and Kirchman worked together while Kirchman listened and sketced out Wilelmy’s vision. The design was entered as a contender for the 9/11 Memorial in New York City and though another design was chosen, the Sound Sculpture is a melodic reminder of a dark day in America’s history.

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9/11 remembered at Bearing Drift

9-11-11-flight-93Please join me at today as we remember 9/11 with memories of that day from colleagues and friends, and with live-time timeline of the events that unfolded that day.

I will never forget that day. I don’t want to forget that day. #NeverForget

9/11 Memories, 15 Septembers Later

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American flags in front of our house every 9/11. We will never forget.

When the White House was evacuated on that fateful day in 2001, my sister, part of President George W. Bush’s administration, was among those working at the White House. Instructed by Secret Service to evacuate and then to flee as fast as possible from the White House, women removed their heels as staffers in the White House and Old Executive Office Building ran for their lives, fully aware that United Flight 93 was approaching the nation’s capital. My sister has barely talked about that day … the rawness is still real … but I am forever grateful to the heroes of Flight 93 who prevented a tragedy at the Capitol or White House.

I will never forget September 11, 2001 … and I don’t want to forget. Fifteen Septembers have passed, and I am still easily overcome with emotion.

That week my husband and I were vacationing in Colonial Williamsburg with our two teenage children. The morning of September 11 we had just arrived in the Colonial area, freshly-purchased annual passes in hand, when a Colonial interpreter told us of the World Trade Center attacks. I immediately quickly walked off to the side to call my mom in Richmond to see if she had heard from my sister in D.C. Amazingly, perhaps because her Austin cell phone was still routing through Texas, my sister was able to call and reassure our mom that she was okay even as tens of thousands of others in Washington encountered jammed phone lines.

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15 Years Later … Remembering 9/11 and the Attack on America

American flag 4

“We will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail.”
-President George W. Bush (after 9/11 terrorist attacks)

Where were you on September 11, 2001?

Everyone remembers the beautiful clear blue cloudless sky and sunny conditions of that September day.  Most remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news that planes had plowed into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania … and the realization that the United States had been attacked by terrorists.

American flags were pulled out of storage to be displayed on houses, businesses, vehicles. Stores sold out of everything red, white, and blue. There was a sense of unity unknown in my lifetime. We were no longer Democrat or Republican or black or white — we were Americans.

My 90-year-old stepdad was 15 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941, a day set in his memory. He was 75 when 9/11 occurred. He worries that younger generations have forgotten Pearl Harbor, and that 9/11 is quickly fading from memory.

Here we have shared some memories from friends and colleagues who wrote their thoughts from September 11, 2001….

Brian Schoeneman, Bearing Drift Editor, Centreville

There are two events in my lifetime that I will always remember exactly where I was – when Challenger exploded and 9/11. Today is the 9th anniversary of the terrorist attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and the Commonwealth. Each anniversary, I like to take a few moments to reflect on where I was, what I was doing, and how I felt.  It was an exceptional time – one of those events that can never be recreated and which we will all struggle to explain to our children and grandchildren.  But, regardless of the difficulty, I try my best to recreate those memories each anniversary, to help ensure that I never forget them. Where were you?  Here’s my story.

I was still in graduate school. I was working my way through my master’s degree at GW in downtown Washington, DC, at the time, and as part of my benefits package, we were given free classes. I was an administrator in the campus housing department, and one of my primary responsibilities was as the fire safety officer for our branch of the student services division. Once every semester we had full fledged fire evacuation drills that were unannounced to the students, and we would observe the results and see where we needed to make improvements. This was a big deal, requiring cooperation with the University Police, our Risk Management staff, the local fire department (to make sure they knew the alarms were a drill), as well as my staff of student employees. We had just gotten to the first dorm we were going to drill and we had gotten everyone staged when people started gathering around the big-screen TV in the lobby. At the time, we were on the far edge of campus – less than three blocks from the White House. We saw the results of the first plane hitting the towers, but time was pressing and we needed to get the drills going.
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George W. Bush, 9/11, and First Pitch at 2001 World Series

George W. Bush said nothing to the crowd the night he took the mound at Yankee Stadium, only a few miles from where he had shouted through a bullhorn to people digging through the wreckage of the World Trade Center less than two months earlier.

Wearing a bulletproof vest, the president flashed a thumbs-up to the crowd, then threw a perfect strike before Game 3 of the 2001 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Arizona Diamondbacks. It was a signal to the country that the healing could begin.

“It was so moving, so powerful, that it lifted our nation,” sportscaster Jim Gray said Sunday night at the George W. Bush Presidential Center. “What President Bush told us without uttering a single word, was that we could once again attempt to carry on our lives. … What an amazing symbol it was.”

Watch the four-minute video from Game 3 of the World Series on October 30, 2001. The crowd roared and waved American flags and patriotic signs. It will make your heart swell with pride for America.

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The 9/11 Bullhorn Speech From President George W. Bush

A president who had barely taken office was faced with the worst attack ever on American soil, and he rose to the occasion. It can never be said enough … we cannot forget the terrorism attacks of 9/11 and the 3,000 innocent souls who perished that day. I hope those who were too young to be impacted by the events of that day will listen to those who were there.

Spontaneous chants roared from the crowd of rescue workers on September 14, 2001, three days after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, as President George W. Bush stood at Ground Zero and, with bullhorn in hand, said the words that were heard around the world:

President Bush: Thank you all. I want you all to know — it can’t go any louder (referring to the bullhorn) — I want you all to know that America today is on bended knee, in prayer for the people whose lives were lost here, for the workers who work here, for the families who mourn. The nation stands with the good people of New York City and New Jersey and Connecticut as we mourn the loss of thousands of our citizens.

Rescue Worker: I can’t hear you!

President Bush: I can hear you! I can hear you! The rest of the world hears you! And the people — and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.

Rescue Workers: (Roar from the crowd) USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA!

President Bush: The nation sends its love and compassion …

Rescue Worker: God bless America!

President Bush: … to everybody who is here. Thank you for your hard work. Thank you for making the nation proud, and may God bless America.

Rescue Workers: (Chanting) USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA!

It was a moment that uplifted the nation and brought American solidarity. May we never forget.

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