The Foreign Service Journal, March 2019

54 MARCH 2019 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL I mentioned that I had escorted his son Jeb on a post-earthquake visit to Armenia in 1988, at Christmastime when, as president- elect, Bush had sent Jeb and his grandson George to convey his condolences, concern and offers of assistance to the Armenian people. The president told us he had spoken at length to Jeb about that visit and thanked us for helping himwith the trip. Later, in June 1993, after leaving office, President Bush visited Lugano, Switzerland. As regional security officer in Bern, I coordinated security aspects of the visit with the Secret Service and the president’s staff. I met the president at his hotel, where he was, as usual, very friendly and chatted with me about his visit to Moscow. The next day he visited Villa Favorita, where Baroness Francesca von Habsburg showed him her father’s art collection, said to be the largest private collection in the world after that of Queen Elizabeth II. Then we went to the dock on Lake Lugano for a boat ride that included the president, Secret Service agents, staffers and myself. My memory of that boat ride, and my most enduring memory of President Bush, came when he, his staffers and Secret Service agents gathered up on the stern of the boat for a group picture. I was standing off to the side, by myself, at some distance from the group. The president saw me standing down there and said, “Hey, John, get up here!” He motioned me to sit right next to him, and the picture was taken. If, as has been said, the measure of a person is how they treat those who can do nothing for them, that incident, for me, shows the unparalleled character of George H. W. Bush. I was a very small part of his visit, and he certainly didn’t need to pay me any notice at all; yet in that moment he treated me as if I were a VIP. n John Rendeiro, a retired Diplomatic Security agent, is currently a member of the FSJ Editorial Board.