On Monday night (March 28) from 8-9 PM, NBC is going to air “All Together Now – A Celebration of Service”. This was an event that took place on March 21 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. The TV broadcast will feature performances by Garth Brooks, Sheryl Crow, Cee Lo Green, Reba McEntire, Sam Moore, Brad Paisley, Kid Rock, Darius Rucker and Carrie Underwood.
The evening honors President George H. W. Bush for his commitment to promoting volunteerism and service in the United States. In attendance was all four living ex-presidents: President and Mrs. George W. Bush, President and Mrs. Jimmy Carter and President Bill Clinton. President Obama is scheduled to appear via a pre-recorded video.
It’s a fitting tribute for President H.W. Bush, to whom President Obama awarded the Medal of Freedom back in February. After volunteering for service days after the attack on Pearl Harbor (becoming the youngest Naval aviator ever as of that date), his plane was shot down, killing his two fellow crew members. Even after this horrific experience, he went back and flew combat missions and trained soliders until the end of the war. After a successful business career, he went back to public service, serving in Congress, the CIA, the State Department, and of course as vice-president and president.
The history books will judge the job he ultimately did as president. He certainly went through his highs and his lows in foreign policy and domestic policy, like all Presidents before him and after him. But in my mind, one of the most important things (and sadly, one of the least mentioned) was his call on others in the country to volunteer service. Today is a different world than it used to be. It seems that we as a people are becoming more and more selfish. “Community Service” is something which high school kids do to get colleges to look favorably upon their applications. Or it’s something that people convicted of crimes do when they don’t want to go to jail. Whatever happened to just doing good because it’s the right thing to do? Whatever happened to The Golden Rule (and no, I don’t mean “he who has all the gold makes all the rules”!)
President Bush wasn’t unique in his generation. So many of the members of “the Greatest Generation” gave so much of themselves so that we can enjoy the freedom and blessings of their sacrifice. Hopefully this program will serve not just as a quaint reminder of a time that is long past, but as a reminder to all of us that we are at our strongest only when we help those who are weak.