To take the true measure of a man, they say, watch not what he says but what he does.
Here?s what President Bush did this week: He opened the festivities for his second inauguration by saluting America?s military -- and, in the process, showed what a class act he is. At a time when he could justifiably boast of clear electoral success, of capturing the largest number of popular votes in American history, he graciously took the spotlight off himself and shined it on the people who defend our way of life every day.
Attendees for the event at Washington?s MCI Center included thousands of men and women in military uniforms. Young soldiers recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital, some with missing limbs, were joined by Medal of Honor winners who are 80 years old. They heard from family members who have lost loved ones. They listened as others read letters to home that expressed a love of God, family and country that remains undimmed even amid the heartbreak of war.
President Bush said, ?As we prepare to celebrate our nation?s 55th presidential inauguration, I can think of no better way to begin than by giving thanks for our freedom and those who make it possible.? Hear, hear.
We at The Heritage Foundation recently made our own humble contribution to those brave soldiers who defend us so ably -- and we did it, not surprisingly, using the currency we?re most familiar with: ideas. Perhaps the best way we can follow President Bush?s lead, and thank our troops, is by advancing practical solutions to the challenges they face in a world beset by violence and fear from terrorist thugs.