Monday, April 30, 2007

A Visit with the First Lady Laura Bush

Photo of artist Roland Lee with First Lady Laura Bush at Zion National Park
Roland and Nellie Lee in front of the Zion Nature Center at Zion National Park before Laura Bush's speech
(Top photo)I had a chance to chat with presidential First Lady Laura Bush for a few minutes following her speech at Zion National Park. What did we talk about? Hiking in Zion. (Photo below) Nellie and I in front of the Zion Nature Center prior to the ceremony. Photos by Nick Jorgensen

Yesterday I had an unusual opportunity to meet and visit with Laura Bush. She visited Zion National Park along with Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne to speak at the re-dedication of the Zion Nature Center. As a board member of Zion Natural History Association, I was invited to attend the ceremony along with my wife Nellie and about 100 others. The ZNHA helps finance the Zion Junior Ranger Program, the oldest Junior Ranger Program in the nation, which is housed in the Zion Nature Center.

Mrs. Bush gave a stirring speech (see video clip)supporting the national park system and announced she and some friends would be spending this week hiking the trails of Zion. I had a chance to chat with Mrs. Bush for a few minutes following the event and was impressed with her abilities to fill the role of the first lady. She is a very eloquent and classy person. We were however somewhat uneasy and a little shocked at the amount of security and media presence involved. Yikes! We were almost relieved to finally leave. Afterward we drove on up to our cabin on the east rim of Zion and spent the night under a full moon in perfect silence and privacy knowing that somewhere down below in the canyon a cadre of security people were hovering over the First Lady of the United States of America.

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