It’s been a few years since a former president has passed away, and George Bush 41 died today at age 94. So what is a picture of Stevie Ray Vaughn’s hat and guitar doing in this post?
Several years ago, my family and I traveled to California for Spring Break. There were many sights to see, and many memories made which I’ll always carry with me.
One day—which also happened to be my older daughter’s 16th birthday—we visited the Grammy Museum, which is located next to the Staples Center in Los Angeles. There was a Taylor Swift exhibit that my daughters were interested in, but I was drawn to their exhibit of SRV items.
I remembered very well what a shock it was when he died in a helicopter accident at Alpine Valley in Wisconsin, in the summer of 1990. In those pre-internet days, news of that nature was received very differently than it is today. And a Twitter tribute—of which there were many for President Bush—was still a long way in the future.
George H.W. Bush was the president when SRV was killed, and a note of condolence was sent from him in the White House to, I think, the mother of the guitarist.
That was how we reached out to someone else, before texts and instant messages and even emails. And as a result, a hard copy of his note survived and could be displayed, as George Bush’s note of condolence was at the Grammy Museum. I took a picture of it and would share it if I could here, but my iPhone died and so too did most of the pictures I took on that trip. The guitar shot is the only one that I still have, so it’s going to have to suffice.
Stevie Ray Vaughn and President George H.W. Bush and physical letters of condolence are all things out of another world at this point. I hope our current president still reaches out to grieving persons…..on second thought, I better not go there. I think I already know the answer to that, and it’s not a good one, either.
The decency of George Bush came out in the act of reaching out to Stevie Ray Vaughn’s family in a time of mourning. The role of the President as a voice of comfort in a time of distress seems to be absent at this moment, and I hope it will return in my lifetime.
Take this post as political if you want to, because everything seems to be so nowadays. But I’m an American—first, last, and always—and as such I’m thanking George H.W. Bush for a lifetime of service to this country. Godspeed to him.