With ongoing budget cuts that are affecting schools nationwide, former First Lady Laura Bush addressed issues regarding education, along with topics involving global affairs as part of the 2009-2010 Celebrity Forum.
Prior to her arrival, traffic around the Flint Center backed up as buses dropped off attendees and motorists entered the Flint Center garage. Some tried to get a quick glimpse of. Bush at the side entrance.
The event may have had an open atmosphere, but security was tighten around the Flint Center.
Secret Service agents patrolled inside, the district police had uniformed and plain clothes officers on duty and the CHP patrolled the area with bomb sniffing dogs.
Dr. Richard Henning, founder of the Celebrity Forum, started the event by presenting the list of speakers available for the next season, then gave a small speech about Bush and her achievements before introducing her to the audience.
Mrs. Bush began the event with a joke and a bobble head of herself then.
She told a brief story about how her family is doing after leaving the White House. She gave support for the Clinton/Bush Haiti fund along with Bill Clinton’s work in Haiti.
With a variety of issues affecting the world, Bush focused on the importance of encouraging literacy in America along with the struggle of women’s rights around the world that she witnessed during her time as first lady.
“I believe every child should be able to read as literacy is the foundation of democracy,” said Bush.
This was followed by her appeal to bring awareness to the understanding of breast cancer, along with awareness of the risk of heart disease among women. “Breast cancers do not respect borders and neither should we when fighting it,” said Bush.
She told about her personal experience during the Sept. 11 attack and how the events of the tragedy impacted her. She spoke about the shock she endured by the attack and the calmness she witnessed in Sen. Ted Kennedy.
“I woke up on Sept. 12 to a new life,” said Bush. “I was no longer addressing literacy but condemning the brutality of the Taliban.”
She also spoke about the variety of criticism George W. Bush received when he was in office, but despite personal feelings she referred to them as the “clanking gears of democracy.”
Bush concluded her speech by discussing the upcoming Bush Foundation that she is working on. After the discussion, audience members submitted questions to be asked by Henning.
Several questions were presented regarding her viewpoints about the Obama administration, her confidence in Sarah Palin and comments made by Dick Cheney. She kept the response mutual and respectful. “Anyone who wants to be president should try it,” said Bush on her thoughts about Palin.
The discussion ended with a standing ovation from the audience while Bush walked of stage to attend a private function at the California History Center.
“She had a compelling story that was well written and well delivered,” said Gene Plevyak, an audience member. “She was so articulate and cleverly avoided political commentary.”
Written for La Voz Weekly
Original Article: Laura Bush visits De Anza