We join the nation in mourning the passing of former President George H.W. Bush (R), the 41st president of the United States who died Nov. 30 at the age of 94.
Like all who serve in political office, Bush had his adversaries, but in the end we hope he’ll be remembered for the request he made for a kinder, gentler nation when accepting his party’s nomination for president, especially in these divisive times.
Bush was well prepared when he first took over as president Jan. 20, 1989. The World War II combat hero’s political résumé included two terms as a U.S. congressman, ambassador to the United Nations and chief of the U.S. Liaison Office in China. He also served as CIA head and is credited with turning around low morale at the agency. After he lost the 1980 Republican primary to Ronald Reagan, he was appointed by the future president to be his running mate for two terms as vice president.
While some may remember Bush’s only presidential term as ending in a recession and others may criticize how he didn’t do enough to fund HIV/AIDS education programs and prevention, there are those who applaud his approach toward foreign policy while in office. Many will remember him as a strong leader who helped oversee a smooth transition after the fall of the Soviet Union and for being the commander in chief who orchestrated quick success in the Persian Gulf War. On the home front, he was responsible for the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Clean Air Act Amendments, both in 1990.
What we find most impressive about Bush’s achievements is after his term as president he took to heart in making the nation a better country by helping others.
He is most known for his charitable work with fellow former President Bill Clinton (D), with whom he teamed up in January 2005, after his son President George W. Bush (R) asked the two to help figure out how to administer aid to the coast of Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand after a devastating tsunami. Later in 2005, the pair joined forces again and set up a joint nonprofit, raising millions for victims of Hurricane Katrina that had struck New Orleans.
The philanthropic partnership led to a friendship between the two former political opponents and shows how two people from different political parties can get along and even be friends. The two served as a prime example of what can be done when people are willing to reach across the political divide to work together for a common cause.
And when it came to achieving a kinder and gentler nation, Bush knew that goal started in his own home with the love he had for his wife of 73 years, Barbara, who died in April.
We hope Bush 41 is remembered for his quest for kindness, gentleness and lack of divisiveness, attributes that are most needed now.