I met former President George Herbert Walker Bush more than 20 years ago. I was serving in the Navy at the headquarters of the U.S. Central Command in Manama, Bahrain. The former president came to Bahrain on a quick visit, in the one building that could hold us all — the basketball court. All hands at this little former British naval base were present, sitting quietly on folding chairs.
Bush spoke warmly for about 20 minutes. He concluded his remarks, and I assumed he would exit the building with his entourage and the flag officers accompanying him. I was wrong.
Instead, Bush bounded down the steps to the court and slowly moved person to person, row by row, shaking hands, answering questions and posing for pictures (with real cameras — this was long before cellphones and selfies). It took him a while, since there were about 300 of us. I admit to being struck by his humanity, warmth and down-to-earth personality.
It’s tempting to compare Bush with the present occupant of the White House, but I’ll leave that for another time.
Michael L. Pandzik
In the open
One of the first things on the Kansas legislative agenda should be to write a law banning public figures from using apps such as Confide. (Dec. 1, 1A, “Former top aide used app that erases messages”) There is no reason any public figure should use any software that even hints of violating our open-records laws.
Public trust is lost when public figures resort to hiding government business from the public. How about the Kansas Legislature making sure that doesn’t happen?
John D. Ektromer