Monday, July 6, 2009
U.S. presidents have long kept prized possessions within reach during their White House years. Franklin D. Roosevelt cherished a 19th century ship model of the USS Constitution. Dwight D. Eisenhower kept an engraved Steuben glass bowl from his cabinet. Sitting on John F. Kennedy’s desk in the Oval Office was a paperweight made from a coconut shell he had carved with a distress message after his PT-109 was sunk during World War II.
With the controversial news that George W. Bush would open his library on the Southern Methodist University in Dallas — more than 100 teachers and professors signed a letter opposing the library, a frequent joke went Bush wouldn’t have enough items to fill an entire presidential library.
Well, laugh no more.
When Bush’s library opens in 2013, along side a copy of My Pet Goat,visitors will be treated with one of his most treasured items: Saddam Hussein’s pistol. The gun, a 9 millimeter Glock 18C, was found in the spider hole where the Iraqi leader was captured in December 2003 by Delta Force soldiers, four of whom later presented the pistol to Mr. Bush. Among the thousands of gifts he received as president, the gun became a favorite, a reminder of the pinnacle moment of the Iraq war, according to friends and long-time associates.