February 01, 2006

all hail the king


did you watch president bush's state of the union address last night? if you weren't enthralled by the rhetoric, perhaps your interest was caught by an unsual audience member, who had an aisle to himself:

Up in the bleachers, a few rows behind first lady Laura Bush, a single member of the audience decided to lie down throughout the speech. Rex, the bomb-sniffing dog, earned an invitation [by Laura Bush, no less] because his handler, Sgt. Jamie Dana, had survived an improvised explosive device in Iraq. Rex, who lay next to Dana, was meant to represent the enduring bonds that survive the horrors of war. But by all appearances, the dog wasn't particularly taken by the symbolism or the speech. It was a pose that seemed somehow wise in retrospect [from salon.com]

the associated press reports on the background of the story:

How Rex landed such a coveted seat -- actually a spot in the aisle labeled ''Rex'' on the official seating chart -- is quite a tale. His owner, Air Force Tech Sgt. Jamie Dana, awoke in a military hospital last summer badly injured by a bomb in Iraq and crying for her bomb-sniffing dog. Someone told her Rex was dead. Later, Dana found out that wasn't true. But it would take an act of Congress before she could take him home to Pennsylvania.

The Air Force said it had spent $18,000 training Rex and that, by statute, he needed to finish the remaining five years of his useful life before he could be adopted. Dana's congressman, Rep. John Peterson, R-Pa., helped abolish that policy in an end-of-year defense bill, the White House said. [associated press]

jamie dana has now adopted rex.

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