This blog entry is written byNancy Brinker, Chief of Protocol at the U.S. Department of State.
Our delegation arrived in Israel on Wednesday morning. The weather was beautiful and we were all very excited to be in the country. President Bush, President Peres, and Prime Minister Olmert all appeared together at the arrival ceremony at the airport.
Everyone was moved because we understood that we were witnessing a historic meeting. Everyone understands the significance of the commitment that has been made to achieving peace.
Yitzhak Eldan, the Israeli Chief of Protocol, and I immediately connect. As our gracious our host, he introduces Prime Minister Olmert to our delegation and I introduced President Bush to their delegation. It's a pleasure to work with someone like Yitzhak and it gives us an opportunity to even create more understanding between our countries.
We've been doing a whole lot of running and jumping throughout morning. When the helicopters landed at the airport to take us back to the hotel, they came in with such a rush of air we almost got taken to the ground! I enjoyed talking to Yitzhak; we had a great discussion about what shoes are best to wear in this hectic job.
After the arrival at the airport, we traveled by helicopter to Jerusalem and the Hebrew University sports stadium, our landing zone. From there, we proceeded to the King David Hotel. After some down time at the hotel, the President headed to the President Peres' residence for a very unique and special ceremony. Usually, when the head of state arrives in Israel, there is a military ceremony at the President's residence with a military band. This time, because there had already been a military ceremony welcoming the President at the airport, President Peres decided to have civilian ceremony, a unique one without precedent. They asked some young children -- age of 12, 13 -- to come and to sing songs of peace. The children, both Israeli and Arab, sang beautifully in both Hebrew and Arabic. One girl sang a beautiful rendition of "Over the Rainbow." You could see that the President was quite moved by the ceremony.