There are moments during tragedy in the history of this country that some will never forget. For many, it was seeing President George W. Bush hand-in-hand with Arlene Howard, the mother of a New York Port Authority police officer who was killed at the World Trade Center on 9/11.
Howard passed away this week at the age of 95.
After the 9/11 ceremony, Bush and Howard remained in contact.
“George Bush is like my boys, mischievous but good-hearted; and Laura is a true angel,” Howard said of their friendship last year.
When President Bush learned she was in her last days, he made it a point to call Howard to let her know she was surrounded by people that loved her.
Tim Howard, another of Arlene’s sons, recalled, “[Bush] called her before she died and said, ‘You have a family who loves you, an ex-president who loves you, and a nation who loves you.’”
“And she said, ‘How is Laura?’ When he called her, her face lit up. It was beautiful,” he added.
When Bush first met Howard, she gifted him with the silver shield found on her son’s body.
Bush presented the shield to the nation during a speech given before Congress, saying, “It was given to me by his mom, Arlene, as a proud memorial to her son. It is my reminder of lives that ended and a task that does not end.”
The bond between them was obvious when President Bush introduced her to some of his fellow politicians at a 2004 American Legion convention. During this time, he referred to her as his “mother away from home.”
Rest in peace, Ms. Howard. We thank you for everything, most especially for your son who gave up his life to save his fellow Americans.
There is truly no greater sacrifice one can give.