We learned that former president George H.W. Bush would be coming to Montgomery a couple of days before the grand opening at the Hyundai plant on May 20, 2005. We weren't sure the nature of his visit or the content of his remarks.
Once he took the podium, Mr. Bush made some poignant remarks regarding the hard work that resulted in Hyundai choosing Montgomery. He remembered the strong relationship between the U.S. and South Korea.
But he also surprised many in the audience with his sense of humor. Here are some examples:
Mr. Bush commented on the local support for the Hyundai plant...and how he wished he'd had that some years back in midland texas. He said, "When I became president, they named a school after me. And the school board voted and the nomination to name the school after me carried 3 - 2. (laughter) It was an amazing insult, actually."
The former president recalled an encounter with protestors in San Francisco. Mr. Bush smiled as he said, "And one particularly ugly looking woman came up along side the car. She held up a sign that said, 'stay out of my womb!'. No problem, lady...no problem. No problem lady with that one."
And he says the public has a long memory for some forgettable incidents. "Even after 12 years, people still remember if you threw up on the prime minister of Japan, " the former president said."It's simply not fair. (laughter)."
He concluded his speech with a patriotic but humorous touch"I'm delighted to be back in Montgomery. Thank you so very much...and may God bless Korea and the United States of America." At that moment he pulled back the front of his coat to show the lining of his coat with stars and stripes....much to the enjoyment of the crowd.