President George W. Bush came to Greensboro October 18, 2006 and parked Air Force One behind my office, at Greensboro Airport.
I was working at Select Homes, Inc. in Greensboro on I-40 next to Hwy 68 N exit, just minutes from GSO Airport. The highway is a busy thoroughfare with thousands of cars passing daily. The office was a garage attached to a large white two-story model home. It was a noisy, windy location because of the I-40 highway traffic, plus consistent aircraft traffic overhead.
When I realized it had gotten very quiet and still, I went upstairs with my camera and looked out the window. No traffic. Zero. Never experienced that before. I felt anxious for a moment, then I remembered, President Bush was in town today. I waited and watched for the Presidential motorcade. It appeared from the West and cascaded down the highway in 3 lanes, shifting dark SUV’s back and forth like a shell game with the Commander in Chief, flanked by an armored vehicle that looked somewhat like a road construction vehicle, but with obvious anti-aggression capabilities. The most powerful man in the World and me, right here on I-40, no one else for 100’s of yards, I thought. But, just like most people, the President didn’t stop and drove out of sight East on I-40 as I held my camera looking out the window.
I had hesitated to open the window and lean out with any kind of object in my hand for fear of taking a 50 cal to the forehead. Times were threatening, just 5 years since 911. As the posted threat levels increased, government authorities tolerance decreased.
Air Force One must be parked at GSO airport, I thought. Maybe I could get a picture. I drove up Gallimore Dairy Rd. to Market St. and turned left. I could see AF1 was surrounded by tractor trailers like a circle of wagons in a western wagon train. I knew The Secret Service and local police maintain a strict security perimeter wherever AF1 is parked. I pulled off Market St. and drove on the field as close to the fence as I could, feeling a bit apprehensive. I stood in the door well of my van and snapped a couple pictures. I then drove around to the west side of Air Force One off Airport Rd. and snapped another picture, again standing in the door well. As I slid back down into my seat this time, I noticed two dark SUV’s approaching. I was hoping for a selfie (term didn’t exist yet) with occupants, but they didn’t make contact. I never saw a person, only dark glass. They stopped until I exited the field.
Two Guilford County Sheriff’s Deputies rolled in behind me as I drove back out Gallimore Dairy Rd and onto I-40 E. They seemed to be escorting me as I drove to NC Hwy 220 S. They turned off at the Level Cross Exit in Randolph County.
I read on digtriad.com (now WFMY news2) the next day, that one of the President’s destinations was Victory Junction, a camp for children with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses located in Randleman, North Carolina.
No Child Left Behind
At the school, President Bush addressed a selected group. He spoke about “No Child Left Behind”, a Federal Act of 2001, at the time, the most recent iteration of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.
Read George W. Bush remarks: No Child Left Behind & American Education: Address in North Carolina Greensboro, North Carolina October 18, 2006 at Faulkner school.