An American flag was placed on a statue near Ground Zero memorializing 9-11, May 3, 2011.
An American flag was placed on a statue near Ground Zero memorializing 9-11, May 3, 2011. Kathy Willens/AP
Former President George W. Bush declined President Obama's invitation to join him on Thursday at Ground Zero in New York City to mark the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.
The New York Times reports that Bush's spokesman said it's part of the former president's pattern of keeping a relatively low profile in his retirement.
"President Bush will not be in attendance on Thursday," said his spokesman, David Sherzer. "He appreciated the invite, but has chosen in his post-presidency to remain largely out of the spotlight. He continues to celebrate with Americans this important victory in the war on terror."
Bush's decision to not join Obama may be of a piece with his tendency to avoid the limelight in his post-White House years except for his recent media tour to promote his presidential memoirs.
But it also means that the news media won't have some precious visuals to riff on, images of the current Democratic president who got bin Laden and his Republican predecessor who didn't.
Instead, the news media will now be forced to turn to video of one of the most stirring moments of Bush's presidency, his impromptu promise made through a bullhorn during his first visit to Ground Zero, just days after the 9/11 attacks, when he vowed "the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon."