Meeting the most powerful man in the world
Editor’s note: Fifteen-year-old Dylan Rohrer and his family from South Lake Tahoe met President Bush last year as part of the Make-A-Wish program. Dylan has Marfan syndrome, a disease which affects the connective tissue and debilitates the bones, heart and vision. The Make-a-Wish Foundation arranged for Dylan to meet the president. The family toured the East Wing of the White House on Dec. 9 for an hour with men from the Secret Service before meeting with the commander in chief for a few minutes. Here is Dylan’s experience in his own words.
Dec. 9, 2005, will be a day for me to remember for the rest of my life. This was the day that a great wish of mine came true: I met President George W. Bush.
The day started off with getting up at 6:30 a.m. and meeting at the lobby of the Hotel Washington at 7:30 a.m. for a walk over to the White House. I am not a morning person, and I was on California time, so I felt as though I was getting up at 3:30 a.m. There were two other Wish children and their families included in the visit.
We took a short walk to the White House. We made it through security then had a great tour of the White House. It was decorated for Christmas. It was my first time to the White House and I absolutely enjoyed seeing everything. No, I did not go to the Oval Office, but I did see the president’s dogs, Barney and Mrs. Beasley, playing on the South Lawn.
We waited to meet the president in three adjacent rooms; the map room (with an original battle map used for D-Day), the Diplomatic Room and the China Room.
My family and I met the president first. I was standing closest to the area in which President Bush would enter the Diplomatic Room, my mom was next to me, then my brother Jesse, and my dad. All of the sudden President Bush just walked in to the room and right up to me and said “Hi, sorry I’m late.” I shook his hand and was grinning from ear to ear. We talked about reading (we both like to read), Barney and Mrs. Beasley (Barney is his favorite), our dog Savannah, and my support of President Bush. He noticed my “Defend Freedom” wristband and thanked me for wearing it. He also gave me gifts; a White House pen with his signature and a bookmark.
We then waited outside as the president met the other two families and Marine 1 landed on the South Lawn. President Bush came out of the White House, turned around and gave a thumbs up and waived, then he got on the helicopter. As soon as President Bush got on board, about seven other people entered the helicopter. My visit with the most powerful man in the world was over.
Ralph Napi, president and CEO of Make a Wish Foundation, took us on a tour of Washington, D.C. We visited the Vietnam Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, drove past the Pentagon, saw the World War II Memorial, the Iwo Jima Memorial and many other sites.
That evening, we were given a private tour of the Capitol Building. Bert Caswell was our escort and he was very entertaining. The Senate Room was my favorite room; I even got to sit in the president’s chair – that was cool.
I had a great visit and want to go to Washington, D.C., again. Who knows – maybe I’ll even get to see President Bush again.
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