The most poignant message of President George W. Bush's farewell address will endure and become stronger over time. He has earned credit, but it has not yet been given. I believe history will ensure that he is awarded his due for doing what most of us feared, just over seven years ago, was impossible, or at least highly unlikely.

Reflecting on our nation in the months and years after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the president noted, "Most Americans were able to return to life much as it had been before 9/11. But I never did. Every morning, I received a briefing on the threats to our nation. And I vowed to do everything in my power to keep us safe."

For that, Mr. President, we thank you. You did your job, and in that regard, you are leaving big shoes to fill. I hope our 44th president does this part of the job as well as you did.

Good presidents aren't supposed to care too much if we approve of them on a day-to-day basis. To do the best job possible on behalf of the American people, they aren't supposed to care what history paints them as, either. President George W. Bush is a grand and elegant example of why this is so important. While the barbs from the media and others on the left no doubt were painful, he did not take it to heart or let it influence his decisions.

It may be decades, if ever, before we learn all this president has had to endure and what it took to keep our homeland safe from terrorists and other enemy attacks for seven and one-half years. But he did it, whether his detractors care to admit or acknowledge it.