Thursday, December 31, 2020

the last book I ever read (A Promised Land by Barack Obama, excerpt twenty-two)

from A Promised Land by Barack Obama:

The next day—Friday, April 29—was mostly travel. I was going to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to survey the damage from a devastating tornado outbreak and had an evening commencement address to deliver in Miami. In between, I was scheduled to take Michelle and the girls to Cape Canaveral to see the final launch of the space shuttle Endeavour before it was decommissioned. Ahead of leaving, I sent an email asking Tom, Denis, Daley, and Brennan to meet me in the Diplomatic Reception Room, and they found me just as the family exited to the South Lawn, where Marine One awaited. With the roar of the helicopter in the background (along with the sound of Sasha and Malia engaging in some sisterly bickering), I officially gave the go-ahead for the Abbottabad mission, emphasizing that McRaven had full operational control and that it would be up to him to determine the exact timing of the raid.

The operation was now largely out of my hands. I was glad to get out of Washington, if only for the day—to occupy my mind with other work and, as it turned out, to appreciate the work of others. Earlier in the week, a monstrous supercell storm had swept across the southeastern states, dropping tornadoes that killed more than three hundred people, which made it the deadliest natural disaster since Hurricane Katrina. A single mile-and-a-half-wide tornado fueled by 190-mile-per-hour winds had ripped through Alabama, destroying thousands of homes and businesses.

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