A&M's 125th Anniversary
have always felt at home here'
George Herbert Walker Bush
In many respects, it's not hard to picture what Texas A&M University was like 125 years ago. That is because so many of the wonderful traditions that have developed throughout the years starting with the Corps, Silver Taps, the 12th Man, Bonfire, and so much more still play an integral part of Aggie life as we head into the 21st century. In fact, this same enduring respect for the past is a big reason why I believe Texas A&M has a very bright future.
To be an Aggie is to become part of a continuum of service, of unabashed pride in our state and country, of educational excellence, of friendship and fellowship. This spirit is something real, something tangible something I sensed during my first visit to the campus as a young congressman some 35 years ago, and each time since (including two visits as president).
So when the time came to make a decision about where I would put my presidential library, there was little doubt in my mind that Texas A&M would be the ideal place. Looking back, I know I made a good decision because I have always always felt at home here (and so has my entire family). Simply stated, the university reflects the same values that the Bush family holds dear: honor, decency, service, hard work, faith.
As Texas A&M University celebrates this special 125th anniversary, I am proud that the library with its millions of pages of documents and other materials from our administration is part of the campus, standing as a repository of a remarkable time in American history. I am proud, too, that our museum offers visitors to the Brazos Valley not just a state-of-the-art tour of a president's life but tells the remarkable story of a nation that answered the call to duty when freedom was threatened while building the greatest engine of capitalism in the history of man.
Perhaps most of all, however, I am proud that the Bush School for Government and Public Service has a solid place in Texas A&M's future. It is my hope that the school will continue to serve as a place where future generations of students who share a commitment to public service with integrity will want to come to seek their own personal potential for excellence. If they do, then I believe our country like Texas A&M will enjoy the full blessings of a rich future.
I still believe in the nobility of public service. I still steadfastly believe in the power decent people have to affect positive change through good government. So I hope our school will help prepare future leaders for the task of governing our nation, leading us into a future of amazing possibilities and breathtaking challenges.
Though some may not be sure, I have no doubt that we will succeed in ushering in a new American century. By that, I don't mean a century in which America profits at the expense of other countries. Instead, it means I believe that the revolution of freedom and free markets which ignited in places like Poland and Chile and Thailand and South Africa with the help of the United States a decade ago will continue to spread the hope of democracy with prosperity around the world.
But to be clear, my optimism for the future is not based solely on the good fortune or material riches of the moment.
Rather, it rests in the enduring propensity of the American people to respond to adversity and act in the spirit of good will when duty calls the same kind of selfless spirit that has marked the A&M campus for 125 years, and is going strong.
We still have much to accomplish as a country. We've so much more to do, which is why we still need good and decent people to get involved to get off the sidelines, and roll up their sleeves, and give something back.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Theodore Roosevelt was the bold and energetic leader who represented a new generation of patriots that answered the call to greatness. Roosevelt understood that accepting the mantle of greatness also meant shouldering the burdens of responsibility when he said: “Much has been given to us, and much is rightly expected of us. We have duties to others, and duties to ourselves, and we must shirk neither.
At the beginning of the 21st century, this call to duty also sums up the mission of the Bush School of Government and Public Service a challenge that is so visibly, honorably accepted by every cadet on the A&M campus, and so many other students who make time in their hectic lives to serve others. Each of them, and so many others across Texas and around America, understands that for America to make a new date with destiny, we need a new band of patriots to give meaning to the words “duty, honor, country.
Which brings me back to the spirit of Texas A&M University a spirit that grows out of A&M's history and traditions, a spirit that is as much a part of the campus as its buildings and its streets, a spirit that burns brightly in the faculty and staff and most especially the students, living embodiments of the future, the hopes and dreams of a time beyond our own.
This is the spirit of Texas A&M, and this is the spirit celebrated every day, around the world, when people seek freedom to build a better world.