George H.W. Bush, 1924 – 2018

“America is never wholly herself unless she is engaged in high moral principle. We as a people have such a purpose today. It is to make kinder the face of the nation and gentler the face of the world.” — George H.W. Bush

Former President George H.W. Bush photographed on August 23, 2001 in Houston, TX. (Photo by Pam Francis/Getty Images)

I arrived to work on Capitol Hill in late February of 1991, just as the First Iraq War (Operation Desert Storm) was coming to an end. George H.W. Bush was our President and the titular leader of the free world. 

By any account, President Bush was known as a kind, gracious, and decent man who’d dedicated his life to public service. For me, I’ve always felt, and I think history confirms, that our nation has been best served by those Presidents who’s life has been an extensive history of serving others.

I’ve always asked when sizing up a candidate for high office, What has he or she done with their life up to this point? Has their life been about serving others? Has their life been mostly about advancing their own personal interests or has it been about their community’s and their nation’s interests? George H.W. Bush spend most of his life in faithful and dedicated service to our nation. 

The only personal (and brief) memory I have of President Bush involved a visit he made to the U.S. Capitol Building in the summer (I believe) of 1992. I was standing near the House Door of the U.S. Capitol and President Bush and his entourage were about to leave the building and head back to the White House. The President was slowly making his way, talking and shaking hands, when he suddenly broke from his group and headed straight for me. I hadn’t been paying close attention to him, but to the group in general as it was moving toward the exit. I noticed the crowd all starting to look at me and I turned to see President Bush walking toward me with his right hand extended to shake my hand. I can still distinctly remember the genuine look in his eyes and the sincerity in his voice as he strongly shook my hand and thanked me for my service “to our great nation.”  

At this particular time in our nation’s history, I’m sure, many Americans miss that genuine decency, dignity, graciousness, intelligence, and nobility that President George H.W. Bush brought to the Office of the Presidency and to the reputation and leadership status of this great nation. 

Farewell Mr. President. You leave behind a grateful nation. Thank you for your service. 

(President George H.W. Bush passed away yesterday, November 30, 2018, in Houston, Texas. He was 94.)