He was the man on the television screen when the world stopped turning that September day: George W. Bush, 43rd president of the United States of America. He called for freedom then as we sat in our elementary rooms; he called for it again this past Wednesday during the McLane Lecture series at the University of Mary Hardin­-Baylor.

Every man, “whether Muslim or Methodist,” Bush said, longs for freedom deep within their souls. Yet, some in this world seek to quell freedom. “Evil is real,” he said, speaking of al-Qaida offshoot ISIL. “There is no light grey... Murdering innocent people to move a political point of view has been, is and always will be evil.”

UMHB Senior Antonio Hebert beamed with approval at that statement. “I thought he said what needed to be said," said Herbert. "It’s indicative of leadership that perhaps some people would like to see coming out of the current White House."

Bush was to arrive on stage at 10:30 a.m., yet Crusaders were lined up as early as 6:15 a.m. to get good seats. “I’m just a big fan of George W. Bush as a person, as a leader, especially of our country, so I knew I wanted to be here early to hear him speak and to get a good spot,” Senior Hallie Holden said.

For her, seeing a packed house filled with purple and gold showed what UMHB has taught us: how to respect our leaders and people who’ve gone before us. Junior Ross Jones agreed. “It reflects back on UMHB’s values and traditions,” he said.

He was greeted by an eruption of applause upon his entrance, so much so that he had to ask for the audience to be seated.

Throughout his speech, he spoke with humility. He admonished students to “never stop learning,” and keep faith in Jesus. Bush was humorous, too. He told a hilarious story of Russian President Vladimir Putin insulting his dog Barney when on a visit to the United States­, saying he wasn’t much of a dog.

Apparently, the former president visited the Kremlin a year later, stopping by one of Russian’s main military posts. Putin asked Bush, “Would you like to see my dog?”

“Yes,” Bush responded.

Putin whistled for a huge hound the size of Ivan Drago from Rocky IV. “You see, George, this is a real dog. He's bigger, faster and stronger than Barney.” But Bush wouldn’t be shaken, knowing it’s not about the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.

He used that hilarious story to teach the following: Listen to everything. You can learn a lot about a person by how they treat you and view even the simple things in life. It’s good to have such an example and leader back in the Lone Star State.

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