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
It is almost fitting that the 77th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor comes precisely a week after the passing of George H. W. Bush, because the attack on Pearl Harbor was what provoked the then 17 year old Bush to enlist in the Navy and become the one of the youngest aviators to fight in combat for the United States. In a fashion, the event and its anniversary bookend the man’s life.
It’s difficult not to think about the historical context of a 94 year old man’s life, especially when that life comes to an end. As with many of his generational cohorts, the Second World War defined him, leaving its mark upon him, pealing away the extraneous and revealing the man within. What was left was a man who believed in the decency of the American ideal and devoted himself to that ideal.
By the time I came to know of George H. W. Bush, he was already nearing the end of a long and distinguished career in government and politics. What I knew of him was that he was the calm and distinguished Vice President to the only President that I had really ever known. When it came time for Ronald Reagan to leave public service, it was this kind and gentle man that took up the reins.
George Herbert Walker Bush was the very first president I voted, on November 3rd, 1992. A vote I will never regret. Though perhaps now I would not see eye to eye with him on every issue of politics, but I’d like to think we would agree on the things that truly mattered. On those things, I believe he exemplified both salt and light in a weary and fallen world. America and the world are better for having him.
Thank you and God speed, President Bush.
Liberty is For The Win!