you, sit down. Sit down. Behave yourselves.
(Laughter.) Mr. President, thank you for
your warm hospitality. Madam First Lady,
thank you so much for inviting our rowdy
friends(laughter)to my hanging.
Laura and I are honored to be here. Mr.
Vice President, thank you for coming. We
are overwhelmed by your hospitality. And
thank you for feeding the Bush family, all
fourteen members of us who are here. (Laughter.)
I want to thank our girls for coming. I
thank Mom and Dad, brother, sister, in-laws,
aunts and uncles. I appreciate you taking
your time. I know you're as excited as Laura
and me to be able to come back here, and
particularly thank the people who helped
make this house a home for us for eight
years, the White House staff.
I want to thank Fred Ryan and the White
House Historical Association and Bill Allman,
the White House curator. I am pleased that
my portrait brings an interesting symmetry
to the White House collection. It now starts
and ends with a George W. (Laughter and
When the British burned the White House,
as Fred mentioned, in 1814, Dolley Madison
famously saved this portrait of the first
George W. (Laughter.) Now, Michelle, if
anything happensthere's your man.
(Laughter and applause.) I am also pleased,
Mr. President, that when you are wandering
these halls as you wrestle with tough decisions,
you will now be able to gaze at this portrait
and ask, "What would George do?"
I am honored to be hanging near a man who
gave me the greatest gift possible, unconditional
loveand that would be number 41.
I want to thank John Howard Sanden for
agreeing to use his considerable talents
to paint my likeness. You've done a fine
job with a challenging subject. (Laughter.)
In the portrait, there's a painting by
W.H.D. Koerner called, "A Charge to
Keep." It hung in the Oval Office for
eight years of my presidency. I asked John
to include it, because it reminds me of
the wonderful people with whom I was privileged
to serve. Whether they served in the Cabinet
or on the presidential staff, these men
and womenmany of whom are hereworked hard and served with honor. We had
a charge to keep and we kept the charge.
It is my privilege to introduce the greatest
First Lady eversorry, Mom. (Laughter.)
Would you agree to a tie? (Laughter.) A woman
who brought such grace and dignity and love
in this house. (Applause.)
by Mrs. Laura Bush