He was loved by countless people, admired by many notable leaders, and respected by the world. He was known as “President Bush,” “George Bush Sr.,” or simply, “41.” On November 30, 2018, the 41st President of the United States, George Herbert Walker Bush, passed away in Houston, Texas, and tributes from numerous politicians and individuals immediately poured in.
Dick Patten, president of the American Business Defense Council, remarked “President Bush was about service … in our communities, to our church. Just being nice. He embodied that, in an incredible way.” USA Today wrote that Bush’s legacy was defined by “his victory over Iraq in Kuwait and [his presiding] during the collapse of the Soviet Union in the final months of the Cold War.”
When talking to CBS News about his father, George W. Bush said, “The mission was not George H. W. Bush, the mission was: how do we serve the United States? How do we help the United States? How do we make the United States better? Which is very important in establishing a culture that can succeed.” Former President Obama declared that George H. W. Bush “was a good reminder that as fiercely as we may fight on policy and on issues, that ultimately we’re Americans first. And that kind of attitude is something that many people might miss.”
In the days following his death, mourners from all over the country came to Washington, D.C. to honor the 41st President, who was remembered as a man of high character and integrity. Most people knew him as a loving husband to his wife Barbara and as an amazing father to six talented children. Before becoming president, he had served as a naval fighter pilot in World War II and had flown a total of 58 combat missions by 1944, for which he earned a Distinguished Flying Cross, three Air Medals, and the Presidential Unit Citation. Bush graduated from Yale University after the war and eventually started his own successful oil company near Texas.
Bush later became a congressman for Texas’ 7th district and served in that position for one term before President Nixon appointed him to be the ambassador to the United Nations. In 1976, Bush was appointed by President Ford to be the Director of the CIA, where he stayed for about one year. A few years later, Bush ran against and lost to Ronald Reagan in the Republican primaries for president. However, he became Reagan’s running mate and was eventually the 43rd Vice President of the U.S. When he was finally elected president in 1989, he stayed in office for one term and ran an administration with a direct emphasis on foreign policy. George H. W. Bush was the last U.S. president to have served in World War II and is the longest-lived president in U.S. history.
As his casket lay in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capital, numerous people walking by mentioned his legacy. According to his son, George H. W. Bush was never comfortable with the word “legacy” because he thought that the notion of your contributions to the country will never be fully known until there’s a passage of time. He also once said to a journalist, “I don’t want anyone to pay attention to me. I’m confident that historians from one perspective or another are going to write and say what they think and then there’ll be a merge of a judgment of our administration. I think history’s going to be relatively kind.”
Even though his legacy and its extent is yet to be known, he will always be remembered as a sincere, caring, and humorous person who became America’s 41st president.