Bush and his contingent were nearing Japan when First Lady Laura Bush and senior White House staff gathered in the plane's conference room. There, a steward put a single candle on a coconut cake, the lights were dimmed, and when Bush entered the room, the group yelled, "Surprise," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said.
"He dutifully pretended to be surprised," she added.
Staff presented Bush a simple wooden box made from a giant oak tree that fell on the White House lawn in 2007, which had been planted by President Benjamin Harrison's daughter in 1892.
Some of the wood was sent to Texas to be fashioned into a small box that was filled with notes and cards from members of his senior staff.