The Time George W. Bush, then Presidential Hopeful, Kept his Promise to My Son

parker Higgins and George W. Bush

In late autumn last year, my son and Gettysburg College Freshman Parker Higgins spent an active and picturesque weekend afternoon with two friends on the grounds of the Gettysburg battlefield. Skateboarding to the summit of Little Round Top (the high ground of the battlefield overlooking the wheat field where Picket made his ill-fated charge), he thought he had the beautiful view all to himself, when he spotted two imposing snipers carrying long-range rifles, one to his right and the other to his left.

Yes, you read correctly. Snipers. “Yikes,” he thought and asked them what was going on. They said “nothing.” Then, he asked them if it was all right for him to be there. And they said, “yes, it was OK”. At that point, a caravan of cars and SUV’s pulled up and out of one, jumped …President Bush! He walked straight over to Parker, shook hands and asked “did you come up all the way to the top on that board?”

The former president was touring the battlefield for the first time, having flown by Marine Corps One from Camp David with friends and family. He and Parker exchanged some memorable – and fun – insights about the area, including a special salute to Veterans Advantage - “be sure to tell your parents thank you for everything they do for veterans.”

Anyway, back to the promise – the President promised to send a signed photo of Parker’s chance encounter. We wondered if it ever would arrive, especially since inauguration day had come and gone. But true to his promise, President Bush delivered with a signed photograph. 

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