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George W. Bush’s Remarks at Dallas Police Officer Memorial Ceremony Were a Welcome Change

George W. Bush’s Remarks at Dallas Police Officer Memorial Ceremony Were a Welcome Change

“Too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples, while judging ourselves by our best intentions.”

President George W. Bush spoke at the memorial service for the fallen Dallas officers killed in last week’s attack. His remarks were a welcome departure from the current narrative and a reminder that principled leadership can still be found in this country.

Speaking of American values and our common bond, President Bush said, “we have never been held together by blood or background. We are bound by things of the spirit, by shared commitments to common ideals.”

“Too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples, while judging ourselves by our best intentions,” he observed.

The full transcript of his speech is beneath:

Today, the nation grieves, but those of us who love Dallas and call it home have had five deaths in the family. Laura and I see members of law enforcement every day. We count them as our friends. And we know, like for every other American, that their courage is our protection and shield.

We’re proud [of] the men we mourn and the community that has rallied to honor them and support the wounded. Our mayor, and police chief and our police departments have been mighty inspirations for the rest of the nation.

These slain officers were the best among us. Lorne Ahrens, beloved husband to detective Katrina Ahrens and father of two. Michael Krol, caring son, brother, uncle, nephew and friend. Michael Smith, U.S. Army veteran, devoted husband and father of two.

Brent Thompson, Marine Corps vet, recently married. Patrick Zamarippa, U.S. Navy Reserve combat veteran, proud father and loyal Texas Rangers fan.

With their deaths, we have lost so much. We are grief stricken, heartbroken and forever grateful. Every officer has accepted a calling that sets them apart.

Most of us imagine if the moment called for, that we would risk our lives to protect a spouse or a child. Those wearing the uniform assume that risk for the safety of strangers. They and their families share the unspoken knowledge that each new day can bring new dangers.

But none of us were prepared, or could be prepared, for an ambush by hatred and malice. The shock of this evil still has not faded. At times, it seems like the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together. Argument turns too easily into animosity. Disagreement escalates too quickly into de-humanization.

Too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples, while judging ourselves by our best intentions. And this is…

And this has strained our bonds of understanding and common purpose. But Americans, I think, have a great advantage. To renew our unity, we only need to remember our values.

We have never been held together by blood or background. We are bound by things of the spirit, by shared commitments to common ideals.

At our best, we practice empathy, imagining ourselves in the lives and circumstances of others. This is the bridge across our nation’s deepest divisions.

And it is not merely a matter of tolerance, but of learning from the struggles and stories of our fellow citizens and finding our better selves in the process.

At our best, we honor the image of God we see in one another. We recognize that we are brothers and sisters, sharing the same brief moment on Earth and owing each other the loyalty of our shared humanity.

At our best, we know we have one country, one future, one destiny. We do not want the unity of grief, nor do we want the unity of fear. We want the unity of hope, affection and high purpose.

We know that the kind of just, humane country we want to build, that we have seen in our best dreams, is made possible when men and women in uniform stand guard. At their best, when they’re trained and trusted and accountable, they free us from fear.

The Apostle Paul said, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of strength and love and self-control.” Those are the best responses to fear in the life of our country and they’re the code of the peace officer.

Today, all of us feel a sense of loss, but not equally. I’d like to conclude with the word of the families, the spouses, and especially the children of the fallen. Your loved one’s time with you was too short. They did not get a chance to properly say goodbye. But they went where duty called. They defended us, even to the end. They finished well. We will not forget what they did for us.

Your loss is unfair. We cannot explain it. We can stand beside you and share your grief. And we can pray that God will comfort you with a hope deeper than sorrow and stronger than death.

May God bless you.

A uniter indeed.

Follow Kemberlee on Twitter @kemberleekaye


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You can have class or you can be an ass.

We just saw a justification for this law of nature.

DieJustAsHappy | July 12, 2016 at 6:37 pm

I found this to be a heart-felt speech by President Bush, offering comfort and consolation. His reflection on our present state needs repeating. “Too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples, while judging ourselves by our best intentions.”

We pray that many will take to heart his words. God bless President Bush!

Compare and contrast with Obama’s moronic statement that a Glock is easier to buy than a book. What a fucking idiot.

    TX-rifraph in reply to Paul. | July 12, 2016 at 6:53 pm

    Obama’s character strengths: Cold, classless, and arrogant.

    Obama’s character weaknesses: narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy.

    Nice balance don’t you think?

As long as we have a state media, leaders like Bush will not survive. They will not be heard as often or as loud as the shallow messages from the left.

While I’m not a big fan of Jeb Bush, or the Bush family in general, I judge people by their actions, and George Bush’s speech today was exactly the tone we needed. I just wish we could have heard this tone from our current President.

The difference between a uniter and divider has never been clearer than in these two men’s speeches.

    gasper in reply to Paul. | July 12, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    All of us at LI know that, but, whose speech was reported by the media this evening ? Bush’s or Obama’s?

    mariner in reply to Paul. | July 12, 2016 at 8:12 pm

    Did you notice Bush’s actions at the end of the ceremony?

    Estragon in reply to Paul. | July 13, 2016 at 6:43 am

    None of the Bushes are “conservative enough for me” – ironically, Jeb is rather clearly the most conservative of the family in public life – but it is undeniable they are people of good character, a quality as essential for leadership as it is lacking in the current occupant, as well as both apparent nominees of the major parties this year.

Kimberlee, thanks for publishing the speech in full.

Once again, GW Bush speaks to our hearts. He is the epitome of what a caring loving leader we so desperately need.
Thank you again, sir.

    inspectorudy in reply to Lee Jan. | July 12, 2016 at 11:42 pm

    The reason is that he is one of us. Not race or color but he has a big heart. He showed it after 9/11 and he showed it today. obama on the other hand has not heart, only an ideology.

Class diversity based on incidental features (e.g. race, color, sex) is a regressive construct. To paraphrase King, judge classes of people by the content of their principles (e.g. religious/moral).

ugottabekiddinme | July 12, 2016 at 8:38 pm

Great words, from a good and decent man. How I miss him in the White House. Didn’t always agree with him, and he made some serious mistakes. Still, the best president since Ronald Reagan, hands down.

    Ragspierre in reply to ugottabekiddinme. | July 12, 2016 at 9:31 pm

    I well remember thinking, “It’s great to have grown-ups in the White House again” when W and Laura moved in.

    I’ll never feel ashamed for voting for W over the choices.

      Estragon in reply to Ragspierre. | July 13, 2016 at 6:53 am

      There is a good reason we’ve historically preferred Governors or Generals to sitting members of Congress when electing Presidents: the skill set and the temperament gets proven. (Vice Presidents have also won a high priority, without any particular reason or record of success).

      Just look at the Senators we HAVE elected: Harding, Kennedy, Obama. All woefully unprepared and subject to the prevailing winds about them. There will never be a situation where we say, “Gee, isn’t it lucky we elected a Senator!” Not that a Senator might not be a good President, but that it would have nothing to do with service in Congress.

inspectorudy | July 12, 2016 at 11:47 pm

Seeing GWB again after almost 8 years is refreshing. It makes you realize what has been missing in our lives and politics. He may have made mistakes but you always knew his first concern was our nation, not his political ass. He telegraphed every move he made and we all knew what was coming next. He NEVER blamed an underling for any misfortune and took the blame for any and all. Compare that with the scum we have now and the scum the Demorats are offering us as their choice to head our nation for the next four years. obama and hillary have both disavowed their own people left and right to protect themselves.

Principled words, words of strength and honor, and words you will not hear from the next president unless there is a change.

JohnOfEnfield | July 13, 2016 at 11:18 am

Compare and contrast. A uniter indeed.

Such a powerful speech. So necessary. So right.

I remember too when his administration lost an important case in the Supreme Court he was challenged by a journalist (!) as to what he would do next. “We will implement the law”.

Compare and contrast in deed.

Nice that he spoke.

But too little, too late.

Common Sense | July 13, 2016 at 6:10 pm

For a minute after I closed my eyes and heard President Bush speaking….

When I opened them there was Obama! And then he spoke………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..