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On Ray’s and my last trip to Missouri, we listened to the delightful Inside Camp David: The Private World of the Presidential Retreat by Rear Admiral Michael Giorgione, CEC USN Retired. Members of the U.S. Navy operate Camp David. Giorgione once served as its commanding officer. Ray and I were both fascinated by his firsthand accounts of life inside this heavily guarded presidential retreat in Maryland and by the stories he gathered from other Camp David commanders.

President Franklin Roosevelt was the first president to find respite there. He called the retreat Shangri-La. It was President Dwight David Eisenhower who renamed the retreat Camp David after his grandson, David Eisenhower. I wasn’t able to find photos of each of the presidents spending time at Camp David, but I thought you would enjoy these that I did find.

President Kennedy and Former President Eisenhower, April 1961

President and Mrs. Kennedy with their Children, Caroline and John, March 1963

Courtesy of Robert Knudsen, White House/John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston

President Lyndon B. Johnson and Advisors Meet at Camp David, April 1968

President Richard Nixon

President Gerald R. Ford, his Wife, Betty, and Their Children, Steve and Susan, Feed “Flag” the Deer, Labor Day Weekend 1974

President Anwar Sadat of Egypt and President Jimmy Carter During the Camp David Accords, September 1978

President Reagan, October 1981

President Reagan Gives a Saturday Radio Address to the Nation, October 1982

President George H. W. Bush and His Wife, Barbara, Take a Walk with Their Grandchildren

Naval Staff Greet President Bill Clinton Upon His Arrival

President George W. Bush Meets with the National Security Council After 9/11, September 15, 2001

President Bush (center) Reacts During a Family Christmas Day Bowling Tournament, 2001

President Barack Obama and His Wife, Michelle, Walk to Marine One for a Visit to Camp David, March 7, 2009

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

On July 2, 1988, President Reagan took part in a groundbreaking ceremony to build a chapel at Camp David.

President Bill Clinton sang in the choir when he attended church services at the chapel. In the picture below, former President George H. W. Bush and his wife, Barbara, President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, along with George and Laura Bush’s daughter Jenna, and Laura Bush’s mother worship together in the chapel in April 2006.

On the Saturday evening when President George W. Bush and his National Security Council were gathered at Camp David after 9/11, Attorney General John Ashcroft sat at the piano and played hymns while the group sang along. He also accompanied National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice while she sang a solo of “His Eye is on the Sparrow.”

At the chapel service on Sunday, the camp chaplain quoted from Psalm 27 with words that gave hope on that weekend after 9/11. They are words which comfort us in whatever circumstance we find ourselves.

I would have despaired unless I had believed
that I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
Psalm 27:13

Let’s look at the next verse, too:

Wait for the Lord;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord.
Psalm 27:14

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