Rush speaks: His big day

In the first hour of his show yesterday Rush Limbaugh told the story — the story as he experienced it — behind his appearance at the State of the Union address this past Tuesday evening. Rush has posted his monologue telling the story under the headline “What a week! I’m one of the luckiest people alive.” Even with what he acknowledges is left unsaid (“someday I hope to be able to tell you the entire story. I can’t tell you the entire story now without divulging medical details that I, frankly, don’t want to give”), the whole thing is interesting from a variety of perspectives. Here is a brief excerpt in which Rush deliberates over his acceptance of the Presidential Medal of Freedom:

And, folks, I don’t know if I should — I’m gonna go ahead and tell you this. I realize that it’s gonna open the floodgates of a bunch of people in the media, but at this stage I don’t care. I never have cared, and I’m not gonna start caring now what they say. One of the reasons I was reluctant was I just wasn’t sure I deserved this. I mean, it’s the highest civilian honor that the country awards….

And there was a part of me, I’m a radio talk show host, and I sit here behind this microphone and I talk. And this is, by the way, nothing new.

I remember when I was at the National Review 50th anniversary dinner in Washington — some of you will remember this story — I’m sitting at Mr. Buckley’s table, and a man walks up to me who has been severely wounded in battle. And he asks if I could come over to his table to meet others at his table who also have been wounded. So I did.

I got over there, and I was listening to these guys who have nearly died defending the country, telling me how much they enjoy listening to my program and all that. I said to these guys, “You know… (sigh) I don’t know, guys. You’ve faced bullets, almost died. I sit behind a microphone in an enclosed room and talk.” The leader of the Wounded Warriors said, “Sir, we all have our role,” and I’ve never forgotten that.

And I remember when I started questioning, “Gee, is this something I really have earned or deserved?” I remembered that statement from that really severely wounded warrior. “We all have our roles.” And then I said, “I can’t react to this in a way that diminishes their appreciation. I can’t sit here and say, ‘Oh, come on, guys. You know, I’m not worth this.’ I can’t do that. It means everything in the world to them that they came over and wanted to tell me this. So you can’t phony up the humility and act that way.’”

I gutted it up, and I told them how much I appreciated it, how stunned I was, how much it meant to me to know that they were out there, and it was a great evening. So it’s the same thing here. I decided, “Okay, drop this business. The president wants to give it to you. That’s all that matters. You’ve gotta do it.”

Whole thing here.

NOTE: Rush mentioned during the show yesterday that he had been inundated with requests to play the Rush Hawkins Singers. YouTube has preserved this fitting clip of “Thank the Lord, Rush Limbaugh’s On” (below).

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