A beautiful look at an ugly past

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Nishe Butler | Staff Editor

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Is it possible that out of complete chaos and misunderstandings, hope still remains? I think so.

The George W. Bush Library and Museum opened at Southern Methodist University on May 1. Opened to the public, all are available to tour this breath taking library museum that captures President Bush’s controversial two terms as the United States president.

Brick and limestone, the Bush Library and Museum is sure to catch the eye. Americans will definitely find a sense of pride and admiration for their country regardless of their political views. It’s revisionist history to some, but simply informing and enlightening to all.

The 43rd president was seen by many as the least inclusive president of all. However, this is not the impression you will get from experiencing the library museum for yourself.

The Bush Museum has immersible interactive features that tell you the story of our nation and world in an extraordinary time.

As soon as you enter the building you are greeted by beautiful window displays of gifts received from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Russia, just to name a few.

There is an Orientation Theater, Creating Opportunity section and most importantly a section dedicated to the attacks on September 11, which includes live video coverage of the horrific events and a wall of names honoring all that were lost on that day. As you continue on, there is a Defending Freedom section that leads into the Acting with Compassion section. However, the stand out was the Decision Points Theater. This interactive section allows a group to decide what they would have done in events such as Hurricane Katrina and The Wall Street bail out. It concludes with what the administration decided and its reasoning.

The $250 million complex houses the 13th official presidential library, and the third in Texas, but is the first of the 21st century iPad era. The 14,000 square feet of exhibits also features a gnarled steel beam from the World Trade Center demolished on 9/11, No Child Left Behind, and work done in Africa regarding Malaria and neglected tropical diseases. With over 43,000 artifacts it has the largest electronic records collection of a presidential library.

“We hope you leave here with a sense of service that it’s important to serve your fellow man,” Bush said.

Knowing that the museum was built privately but will be run by public funds as any other library or museum open to the public I couldn’t resist asking myself,
are we paying for some distorted version of truth, or a legit historical account of our history?

“The museum itself is the Bushes’ personal statement about what they think is important,” said Mark Langdale, president of the George W. Bush Foundation, who oversaw the construction.

“ …A nation must believe in three things. It must believe in the past. It must believe in the future. It must above all, believe in the capacity of its own people, so to learn from the past that can gain in judgment in creating their own future,” President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1941 founder of the presidential library system.

Threw out the exhibits there are several inspiring perspectives and quotes from the former president and first lady.

“The best hope for peace in our own world is the expansion of freedom in the world, protecting America from another attack is the most important responsibility of
the federal government, the most solemn obligation that a president undertakes,” Bush, said at the signing of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008.

Fully equipped with 21st century technology, this presidential library is as impressive as any modern museum.

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