‘Memorable Experience:’ Planting a tree with former President George H. W. Bush

BISMARCK, N.D. - The Centennial Tree Project that former President H.W. Bush participated in planted 100 million trees in North Dakota between 1989 and 2000

Photo courtesy: North Dakota Historical Society

While he was here, Bush picked out a child from the crowd at the Capitol grounds to be a part of the moment.

Lindsy Nordeen says she was a second grader at Northridge Elementary school in 1989 when the president randomly chose her from the crowd. She says she remembers her class was front and center that day because they got to the Capitol first. But what newscasters didn't know is that now 38 year-old Nordeen thought she was getting pulled aside for something else.

"When the security guard approached me I assumed that I was in trouble because we had been talked to. And he said the president wanted to meet 'you' and he wants you to help. At least from what I remember him saying and then that's when I got to meet Bush and help him plant the tree," said Nordeen. "I remember my grandma picking me up in her car and saying, 'grandma I got to meet he president today.' And she of course was, 'yes sweetie, everybody did.' And I was like, 'no, grandma I really got to meet the president.'"

Along with a tree seedling and an autograph from the 41st President of the United States, Nordeen got a photo.

"I wrote him a letter and I sent it to the White House and he wrote me back and autographed the picture of us together," said Nordeen.

She says it was a memorable experience that she will cherish and hold in her heart forever.

The tree Nordeen helped plant with the president at the Capitol didn't survive, but the seedling he gave her grew into a 29-year-old tree and is at her family cabin on Lake Isabel.