President Bush No Stranger To Post-Katrina South Mississippi - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

President Bush No Stranger To Post-Katrina South Mississippi

President Bush's first visit just days after Katrina struck brought him face to face with the reality of the storm's wake.

"We lost everything, but we're still here," one victim told him through tears.

Like everyone else who witnessed those early days first hand, the president was moved and motivated to help.

"It's hard to describe the devastation that we have just walked through," President Bush said at a news conference on September 2, 2005. "People here are going to see compassion pour in here."

And that compassion did pour in. Ten days later the president was back to thank volunteers - even as his administration, and FEMA in particular, was taking heat for a slow response to Katrina.

"People want to move forward," President Bush said during his September 12th visit. "They understand there's time to try and blame somebody, but they want to get their lives back together."

Remarkably, only a month later some of the youngest hurricane victims were doing just that. The President and First Lady Laura Bush visited with children at Delise Elementary School on their first week back in class.

During the October 11, 2005 visit, President Bush was overheard asking one student, "You had a dream you were the President? You know something? Some day you may be."

Following the holidays, Mr. Bush returned to Hancock County to speak of the New Year's challenges and lessons learned about recovery and rebuilding.

"There are going to be some lessons learned about having agencies that get overwhelmed by the size of a storm," Bush told the crowd during his January 12th trip. "Those are the lessons we're going to continually analyze. That's what you ought to expect from those of us who have been given the high honor of serving you."

And whether he was hammering nails in Gautier, or overseeing ongoing volunteer efforts in Biloxi, one message to everyone in South Mississippi remain unchanged.

"Good job," the President told a volunteer on his April 27th visit. "We appreciate you."

by Don Culpepper

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