The President went to great lengths to conceal the full nature of his disease from the American people and from foreign leaders. He asked the press to never photograph him in his wheel chair. When in public, he walked with the aid of a cane and by holding tightly to his son James’s arm. Well he didn’t really “walk”, he couldn’t. With great effort, he had to grip his son’s right arm, and with his upper body strength, rotate and thrust forward his left leg. Then with his right hand and cane, propel his right leg forward. Over and over. Grip… thrust… cane…thrust… grip, thrust, cane, thrust. Observers have said that it was done so meticulously, it simulated the act of walking.
Now imagine the President – standing at the entrance to the House Chamber in the capitol, looking before him at the long walk down that aisle to the side of the speaker’s rostrum, where he needed to reach the top and the podium we see on TV. Grip, thrust, cane, thrust. After the famous speech when asked what his dad was thinking and talking about as he entered the House chamber on that auspicious December 8th, James said “ only one thing … that he mustn’t fall.”
- Simple Acts of Strength and Courage