Columns

Blaine's Bulletin: Honoring the Life and Legacy of President George H.W. Bush

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Washington, December 7, 2018 | comments

With temperatures near freezing in Washington D.C., thousands of Americans waited in hours-long lines for the opportunity to pay their final respects to President George Herbert Walker Bush this week. Lying in state in the United States Capitol rotunda is a rare honor afforded to a select few Americans who served our nation. President Bush, the forty-first President of the United States, earned the honor at least eight times over.

His son, President George W. Bush said it best, “Dad taught us that public service is necessary; that one can serve with integrity and hold true to the important values, like faith and family.” As a young man, George H.W. Bush’s call to serve superseded his personal ambitions. On his 18th birthday, he enlisted in the United States Navy, becoming the youngest Navy pilot during WWII.

After his service in the Navy, he headed back to the United States where he married Barbara Pierce and attended Yale University. As the longest married presidential couple in American history, the tale of George and Barbara has become one of America’s most cherished love stories. George and Barbara’s love endured through personal tragedy, professional successes, and public defeats, all while keeping faith and family at the center of their lives.

With five children in tow, George H.W. Bush continued to answer the call to serve as a United States Congressman from Texas, Ambassador the United Nations, Chief of the U.S. Liaison Office to the People’s Republic of China, and Director of the CIA. His deep understanding of international relations was unmatched, forging critical relationships with foreign nations across the globe and earning worldwide respect.

In 1980, President Bush put his own personal ambitions aside as he became President Ronald Reagan’s running mate. As Vice President of the United States, he provided vital counsel to President Reagan, securing international wins throughout the President’s two terms. Steadfastly loyal to President Reagan, George H.W. Bush was elected President in 1988. Possibly the most qualified man to ever serve as President of the United States, he continued his work on consequential diplomacy across the globe.

As President he had the weight of the world on his shoulders, yet his family continued to be at the center of his universe. President Bush’s last words on Earth were “I love you, too” to his beloved first son, namesake and the 43rd President of the United States. To the entire Bush family, a mourning nation stands alongside you. We all gain some comfort in knowing he is now reunited with his beloved wife Barbara and their daughter Robin. In death as in life, his extraordinary goodness and love of country and family will be a guiding light for Americans and people across the world.

We can all learn valuable lessons of service and selflessness thanks to the shining example of President Bush. This week, America has lost an honorable man who exemplified the greatest generation through his faithful commitment to our nation and to his loving family. Leaving a legacy of conservative leadership, as Jon Meachum said, George Herbert Walker Bush “made our lives and the lives of nations freer, better, warmer, and nobler.”

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