It was a letter from a better man than most.
He simply signed it George Bush.
He simply dated it 9-13-01.
If you are wondering about that date, subtract two days — and consider it was written two days after our nation was hit with the worst terrorist attack in our history.
The late president George H.W. Bush, who was known for being a purveyor of personal notes and kind words, sent the note to a Chicago acquaintance of mine.
It was dispatched on the former president’s personal stationery etched with a sketch of the Bush family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine, where Bush and his wife, Barbara, lived from May to October each year.
Mary Kay Haben, who lives in Chicago and was once president of Kraft Cheese’s Division USA until 2007, was the recipient of Bush’s missive and has given Sneed permission to share it with our readers.
“As we honor and remember our 41st president today, I wanted to share something with you that George Herbert Walker Bush sent me back in 2001,” emailed Haben on Thursday.
“When I was at Kraft, he helped us with a Junior Achievement effort. [Junior Achievement is the nation’s largest organization providing young people with the knowledge and skills to foster future academic and economic success.]
“So he thanked all of our JA volunteers via voicemail for all our help,” said Haben, who called Sneed late Thursday afternoon.
“I was in charge of the volunteers, so I sent him a thank you note and a Kraft goodie bag.
“This is what he sent me in return. A personal handwritten card.
“Please notice the date on the back of the card; it was written just two days after 9/11.
“Hence, his request to pray for our country and his ‘beloved son.’
“I will always treasure this. A great man.”
The letter reads:
“Dear Mary Kay,
I loved your note, but the pleasure was all mine. I am very proud of what Kraft does for JA. And, again thanks for all those great Kraft products. Say a prayer for the USA and for our beloved son.
All the best,
“I once prominently displayed it in my office until I retired,” she said. “Then I put it in a file folder. It eventually wound up stored in a mini warehouse. You can bet it will be proudly displayed again.”
• Backshot: Following Bush’s state funeral in Washington on Wednesday — attended by four living U.S. presidents who joined Bush’s son, former President George W. Bush, who gave an emotional eulogy — Bush’s body was flown to Houston, Texas, on Thursday for burial next to his wife at his presidential library in College Station, which was prefaced by a celebration of his life at the Episcopal church where he worshipped for half a decade.
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