The passing of former President Bush ‘41’ is sad for many reasons. He was a man that attained the highest office in the land in large part because of the way he not only lived his life, but also because of the well-known fact that he put his life on the line in defense of America’s freedom. Part of that ‘Greatest Generation’, he entered the military during WW II at an age younger than was officially allowed, because he knew the world needed him and others like him in the effort to stop the tyrannical brutality of Hitler and the other AXIS powers.
When his plane was shot down in battle, an event that would have caused many others to count their blessings that they survived and call it quits, he went right back into battle to continue taking the fight to the enemy. But in addition to his well-documented heroic acts during war time and his political battles, successes and failures on his path to the Presidency, he was an all-around decent man. Good to his family and ever loyal to his wife Barbara, always respectful of everyone he met no matter what their status in life, he was held in high esteem by those who knew him personally. He was admired by the average American, who had no doubt that he had the best interest of every American in his heart.
After his Presidency, he teamed up with former President Bill Clinton to co-chair the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund and raised $90mm in grants. They also headed a private fundraising effort to aid those devastated by the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2005 that supplemented US aid of $350mm in government funding. Their philanthropic activity has become legendary.
Tributes have poured in from around the nation and the world. President Clinton and Madame Secretary Hilary Clinton, Michelle and former President Barack Obama, Melania and President Donald Trump, former Vice President Al Gore, leaders of the United Nations. NATO, the country of Kuwait, Prime Minister Theresa May, sports figures, talk show hosts and entertainers, corporate heads such as Tim Cook of Apple and other leaders, both Democrats and Republican are both nostalgic and anxious that his passing marks not the end of a generation of political decency, but perhaps the official beginning of the resurgence of the politics that George H.W. Bush stood for, even with all of the natural flaws that arise from necessity of compromise. His service dog Sully, pictured here, symbolizes the essence of loyalty marked his career.
The Herald’s Joe Fitzgerald poignantly wrote, “ When Bush wished for “a kinder, gentler nation” it was more than campaign rhetoric. It was a clarion call for us to wash our hands of the meanness now permeating public life, knowing we can be better than this. In mocking him, his critics reaffirmed how very right he was.”
The emotion that the Bush Family has always so unabashedly displayed publicly around and toward each other at key personal and historic moments has and will continue to be on display until his interment and probably beyond. As Fitzgerald further wrote, “Like his kids, we’ve all lost a giant.” May God bless President George H.W. Bush and may he rest in peace. A good man has left us for the afterlife he so richly deserves as he is once again united with his wife and best friend Barbara.