While the rest of us returned to our lives much as they had been before 9/11, Bush never did. Though the battles were brutal and the cost in treasure great, he continued to promote human liberty, human rights, and human dignity in Iraq and Afghanistan. While others called the cause lost, he pushed for the surge in Iraq. He sent unmatched levels of funding to fight AIDS and malaria in Africa. He worked to reform education, and he pushed for entitlement reforms but was blocked by a Democrat-controlled Congress. And despite the attacks of 9/11, stock market scandals, Katrina relief, and wars far from home, Bush worked with Congress to reduce the budget deficits from $412 billion in 2004 to $162 billion in 2007. And the now much-debated Troubled Assets Relief Program was thought to be a critical measure by both Bush and then Senator Barack Obama to prevent a total collapse of the U.S. and global economies…

Though his words at times may have been jumbled, the eloquence of his heart spoke. His meaning was always clear. We knew who he was. His convictions were firm. And his belief in the promise of America, unwavering.

I salute Obama for calling his predecessor Tuesday, and for acknowledging Bush’s love of this country in the address. But the page cannot be turned until it has been read and its lessons understood. As we near the anniversary of 9/11 and continue to fight for the cause of a free people in Iraq and Afghanistan, I wish the conversation would continue.