A Dying Breed … George H.W. Bush

Yesterday, a man of respect died.  George Herbert Walker Bush died at age 94, just a few months after the death of his wife and soul-mate, Barbara.  I have never ascribed to a conservative or Republican ideology, and thus I often disagreed with many of Bush’s policies.  But I always respected the man.  George Bush was a good man, a man of dignity and compassion, a man who cared about this nation and the people who live in it, Republicans and Democrats alike.

George H.W. Bush was among the last of a dying breed.

5 living presidents

Left to right:  George H.W. Bush, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter

Until Friday, there were five living former-presidents, the men pictured above.  Each and every one of those men both gave and earned respect.  None were perfect, all made mistakes, but their hearts were in the right place and they unfailingly acted in what they believed was the best interest of this nation and its people.  Not a single one of these men put their own business interests ahead of the interests of the people they were to represent.  Not a single one of these men were so arrogant that they believed themselves better, more intelligent, or more important than any one of us.  They understood that they worked for us, rather than the other way around.

These men were thinkers.  They did not scream or rant in order to get their point across.  They were men of dignity, men of courage, men of respect.  Interesting word, ‘respect’.  True respect is earned, not given lightly.  George H.W. Bush earned the respect not only of the citizens of this nation, but of foreign leaders around the globe.  He was, despite his “no new taxes” promise that he had to break a short time later, a man of his word.  He was an honest man, a man of integrity.  When he spoke, he spoke the truth, or what was the truth to the best of his knowledge.

George H.W. Bush walked out of the Oval Office for the last time on 20 January 1993, after serving only one term, but he did not stop trying to make the world a better place.  More than ten years later, he and another former president, Bill Clinton, came together to lead aid efforts in tsunami-ravaged South Pacific disaster zones, and later in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.5 living presidents-2President Bush supported a wide variety of humanitarian causes throughout his life in areas of Abuse, Adoption, Fostering, Orphans, AIDS & HIV, Animals, At-Risk/Disadvantaged Youths, Children, Disaster Relief, Economic/Business Support, Education, Environment, Health, Homelessness, Human Rights, Hunger, Mental Challenges, Miscellaneous, Physical Challenges, Poverty, Sports, Women.

From 1993 to 1999, he served as the chairman of the board of trustees for Eisenhower Fellowships, and from 2007 to 2009 was chairman of the National Constitution Center.  In July 2013, Bush had his head shaved in a show of support for the two-year-old son of a member of his security detail, who had leukemia.  Bush-shaved-head.jpgIn 1993, Bush was awarded an honorary knighthood (GCB) by Queen Elizabeth II. He was only the third American president to receive the honor, the others being Dwight D. Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan.

All of these are parts of the whole, parts of what made George H.W. Bush a good man, an honourable man, a man who earned respect.  You didn’t need to agree with his politics to see that at the very least, he was a man of deep convictions, a man of conscience.

On Friday, the nation lost one of the last presidents we will likely ever see who was deserving of respect.  Four remain to remind us of better times, of times when leaders worked hard to ensure the safety and prosperity of everyone, not just a select few.  Times have changed, and George H.W. Bush was an icon of times past.  R.I.P., President Bush … you will be missed.

48 thoughts on “A Dying Breed … George H.W. Bush

  1. That is a very good point. I suspect that all Trump and the rest of them do will in the end backfire and give them what they gave out. And it is good that we are talking and writing and keeping the hope up. That’s how it will change in the end.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Topic Tuesday ~ Is it just me? – The Bee Writes…

  3. Couldn’t disagree more as an historian. Prescott Bush helped fund the Nazis. 41 has to answer for the excesses of the James Bond-like mind control programs of the CIA: MK UKTRA, paperclip, Blue Bird, etc. Bush 43 has to answer for supporting the policies if nation building which is the textbook definition of denying human rights! Which of these are American values?

    Liked by 1 person

    • We judge each man by his own actions, not by those of his ancestors or offspring. And since none of us are perfect, if we judge a person, we must consider both the good and the not-so-good, or in some cases evil. There was no evil in George H.W. Bush. He made mistakes, certainly, but overall he was a man of integrity and compassion who gave his best for the nation.

      Like

  4. Jill, this is an outstanding tribute to an outstanding man. Of all the many worthy words that can be used to describe George H. W. Bush, to me a few stand out among the others…A Gentleman and A Great Humanitarian. While I too must admit that I did not always agree with his policies, I never questioned his integrity and compassion. I deeply admired what he did after leaving the Presidency. However, he always encouraged us to be better people through public service. Included in the legacy that H.W. leaves behind is the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service, Points of Light, from the 2007 merger of his 1990 Points of Light Foundation and the Hands on Network. It is one of my charities and I hope that they are receiving a multitude of donations in his memory. The often used theme by the 41st President was his “thousand points of light” and it was found in several of his speeches that will live on : “We can find meaning and reward by serving some higher purpose than ourselves, a shining purpose, the illumination of a thousand points of light.” The words of William Arthur Ward are also an excellent description of George H. W. Bush : “Greatness is not found in possessions, power position, or prestige. It’s discovered in goodness, humility, service and character.” We are loosing too many great men and their equals are not easily found. Thank-you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Ellen! He may not have been the best of all leaders, but he was a good man, an intelligent and compassionate man, and sometimes that is more valuable than being able to “make a great deal”. The quote by William Arthur Ward is absolutely perfect!!! I would like to send Trump a plaque with that quote on it!

      Like

  5. Dear Jill,

    This era has been the death of average citizens believing that in general, our elected lawmakers had our and this country’s best interests at heart. We didn’t have to agree with them. They didn’t have to be saints. We knew they made mistakes, some big and little ones. They were human beings who did their best.

    President H.W. Bush was the perfect example of what was right about this great USA. This current president and his GOP cronies including most in the US Congress along with their big money corporate donors, represent the very worst.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 1 person

    • It truly has, my friend. In just a few short years we have come to realize that we are nothing more than pawns in a game played only by rich, white men. George H.W. Bush was so far above our current ‘president’ in every way, that the contrast simply astounds. This era has also been the death of that thing we call dignity, of civility. Can you even begin to imagine George Bush speaking in the manner that Trump does? Never would have happened. And sadly, men like Bush, Clinton, Obama … are quickly becoming the way of the past. Where can we possibly go from here? President Bush will be missed, for even though he has been out of power for 25 years, his voice was still heard.
      Hugs!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. A good tribute Jill made all the better because it has been made by someone not from his political heartland (which seems to have died out).
    He was also the man who would not send American troops in pursuit during the 1st Gulf War, although this was to the determent of the Marsh Arabs who had believed liberation was one its way. But as can see in the 2nd Gulf War it would turn out to be the least of evils as it were.
    It says much about these tawdry times that each of those men in that photo were giants in comparison with what you have now.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. What a wonderful tribute. 🙂 I would add, though, that for all some of us may “disagree with some of his policies,” there was one policy of his that had, has, and will make a positive impact on probably all of us at some point: the Americans with Disabilities Act. Whenever we need and have an elevator, a sidewalk ramp leading to the street, space for a wheelchair on the bus, or some other accommodation, we can thank George H.W. Bush.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Many thanks, Brendan! Thank you for the reminder, for I had forgotten that it was under Bush that ADA came into being. Those were the days when legislators on both sides of the aisle worked together for the good of the nation, the people. How I long for a return of those ethics.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Jill, this is well said. When I think of the elder Bush , I think of his long relationship with Barbara. I think of his volunteer military service where he survived being shot down. I think of his calmness in dealing with the fall of the Berlin Wall, so as not to “stick it on the eye” of the falling Soviet Union as business relationships needed to continue.
    I also think of his relationship with Bill Clinton to give back to others. I think the picture of his shaved head with the son of a body guard is priceless and pertinent. Keith

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks Keith! All those things are things that come to my own mind when I think of this man. His relationship with his wife, especially, was so heartwarming … you could see it in their eyes when they looked at each other. The man had dignity, compassion, humility and grace … all things I find lacking in the ‘man’ who currently sits in that chair. And the picture, the story, of the shaved head … I had to put this post aside for a bit, for I kept tearing up. What a good man he was. I wish we had another just like him.

      Like

  9. Beautiful tribute, Jill. I wonder if we will ever have another leader we can respect. I’ve been on hiatus for a long while and not sure I’m back yet. Sure gonna try though. So much to finish before Christmas, so little time left to do what has to be done. I’m trying to convince myself I’m ahead for next year but it’s getting more and more difficult to talk convincingly to myself.
    Take care, my friend.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much, Angie! I have often wondered the same of late. In early 2017, I was sure that Trump was simply a blip in our history, an anomaly. But, as time goes by, I’m not so sure but that he is the manifestation of a major change in our society, our government.

      I’ve noticed your hiatus and I have been remiss in not staying in touch. The holidays snuck up on me this year!!! I went to the grocery the week before Thanksgiving and wondered why they had all those turkeys (the birds, not the people) out already, so when I got home I looked at the calendar and had heart failure!!! Now I am trying to get caught up and prepared for Christmas … decorations are finally up, but requests for baked goods are starting to roll in, and I have packages to get mailed overseas, and the girls want to buy a tree next week! And I’m just … tired. Bone tired. I tried to talk the girls into skipping the holiday this year, but … no dice. I give you the same advice I am giving to myself … do the best you can, what gets done will have to be good enough, and don’t kill y’self over it, for it’ll be back in just a short year!!!

      Hugs, my friend!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I DECIDED YEARS AGO THAT I I CAN ONLY DO SO MUCH, SO I ALWAYS FINISH AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE AND LET THEM KNOW THEY HAVE SOMETHING WORTH WAITING FOR COMING ASAP! I HAVE TO DO THIS WHEN I’M MAKING QUILTS BECAUSE THEY TAKE SO MUCH TIME TO FINISH.

        I ALSO BEGAN WORK ON A PROJECT FOR MY GRANDDAUGHTER WHO IS AN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST WORKING WITH KIDS IN THE CINCINNATI SCHOOL SYSTEM. SHE ASKED IF I CAN MAKE HER SOME TEACHING AIDS WITH ZIPPERS, BUTTONS, BUTTKNHOLES, AND SNAPS. I’M LOVING THIS PROJECT. ALWAYS DID LOVE MAKING DOLLS AND OTHER STUFFED ANIMALS SO I DO THAT WHILE I REST FROM THE QUILTING. IT ALSO KEEPS.ME SITTING DOWN AND OUT OF TROUBLE! HARD TO FALL WHEN SITTING BUT I’VE MANAGED THE FALLING ANYWAY.

        TAKE CARE DURING THIS SEASON. ENJOY BEING WITH YOUR DAUGHTERS AND DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF!

        Liked by 1 person

        • My mother-in-law, Clara, had a goal to make a special quilt for each of her children and grandchildren before she died, and I believe she did achieve her goal. She was an amazing lady, as are you. You obviously cannot post pictures, since they are for Christmas gifts, but I’m sure they will be beautiful!

          What a worthy project that is!!! Hats off to both you and your daughter! I have a grandson who has Down’s Syndrome and lives here in Cincinnati … perhaps his path and your daughter’s have crossed at some point. Keep sitting and stop falling!

          I will do my best at that. I haven’t much holiday spirit, but I am determined not to spoil it for others.

          Hugs, my friend!

          Liked by 1 person

          • STARTED TO ANSWER BUT IT ALL GOT SWEPT AWAY BY THE ETHER. SO GLAD I HAVE IT BACK. ACTUALLY IT’S MY GRANDDAUGHTER WHO IS THE THERAPIST, MY SON MIKE’S DAUGHTER. I’M EXTREMELY PROUD OF HER AND I’M GOING TO POST SOME PHOTOS BECAUSE I NO LONGER PUT THIS ON FACEBOOK. PLUS NO ONE IN MY FAMILY EVER READS MY BLOG ANYWAY. FALEASHA WORKS WITH SOME KIDS WITH DOWN’S, SO IF YOU EVER MEET A THERAPIST NAMED FALEASHA WINK, SAY HELLO TO HER. SHE’S A LOVELY YOUNG LADY AND SO INTELLIGENT I HAVE TO WONDER WHERE IT ALL CAME FROM.
            I’VE MADE QUILTS FOR EVERYONE IN MY FAMILY IN THE PAST AND A COUPLE FOR ONE BROTHER WHO USES THEM THE WAY I MEANT FOR THEM ALL TO BE USED — AS A COVER DURING THE COLD WEATHER. MY BIGGEST PROBLEM AT THE MOMENT IS TRYING TO SEE THE HOLE IN THOSE TINY NEEDLES TO POKE THE THREAD THRU. I’VE SUDDENLY REALIZED MY EYES ARE AS OLD AS THE REST OF ME — GO FIGURE! IT COULD BE WORSE THOUGH, AT LEAST I CAN GET IT THRU THE EYE OF THE NEEDLE HALF THE TIME. I’VE BEEN SITTING SO MUCH LATELY THAT I THINK I’M TAKING ROOT IN MY CHAIRS. THE ONLY WAY TO PREVENT THAT SEEMS TO BE TO SWITCH CHAIRS FREQUENTLY

            Liked by 1 person

            • Ah yes … I misread that … I see now that it is your granddaughter. Well, thumbs up to her! I will find out from Kim & Jerry if Matt has ever had a therapist name Faleasha Wink. I always thought quilts were meant for covering up on cold nights, so I’m almost afraid to ask what the others use theirs for! I popped over and saw the quilts … beautiful work! I didn’t want to laugh about your phones, for it isn’t funny, but somehow I did have to chuckle, for many a time I have tossed something accidentally. Usually, though, it’s a spoon or a fork … never a phone so far … knock on wood! Be sure to play music as you switch chairs … musical chairs! Take care, my friend! Hugs!!!!

              Like

  10. this is so sad to me on many levels. When you see the stark contrast to what we have now, it’s pitiful. My heart aches for what America has become and what I fear will continue.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Yes, Mary, the contrast is beyond striking. I wonder if we will ever have a restoration of dignity and integrity, of compassion and honour in the White House? I suppose it is up to We The People, but those 40% or so make it questionable. Sigh. At any rate, hats off, and thank you, President Bush, for being a good man.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Well written Jill! I didn’t particularly like him when he was in office. But I was young and didn’t know much about life and the world. Today I fully agree with you. It seems his breed of politicians are gone for good and it terrifies me what this new breed of “money making first then serving” politicians have in store for us…

    Liked by 5 people

    • Thank you, Bee!!! Our perspectives change over time, and as we have more points with which to compare. It is the same with most things, and what we were disgusted by yesterday, starts to look a whole lot better after we see some of the alternatives. I probably have a lot more respect for George H.W. Bush today than I did 25 years ago, for I voted for Clinton in 1992. And I might well still vote for Clinton over Bush, but I nonetheless have great respect and admiration for President George H.W. Bush, both as a leader and as a man. Compared to what we have now??? I just hold my head.

      Like

      • Not only you. I just call him “that man” 😁. I think that is something you learn when you get older that you can have respect for someone who you don’t agree with. And also all.of us have good and bad points. It always surprises me that Hitler deeply cared for his dogs and was a vegetarian. It just doesn’t fit in my image of that ruthless dictator. He is responsible for a lot of bad stuff resurfacing today 😕

        Liked by 1 person

        • I hear you! When I have to refer to him as such, I always put the word ‘man’ in single quotes. I didn’t know that about Hitler, and like you, I find it difficult to believe, but they say that all of us are some combination of good and evil. It’s rather akin to hearing that Charles Manson lovingly tended a flower garden!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Really? Incredible! But I suspect we will only move forward as a species if we realise “black & white thinking” won’t get us anywhere. Besides my contempt for Mr. T and his actions I also see a lost and lonely boy and a very scared and sad bit in him. Not sure how that can help anything but I suspect that part makes him act in the way he does. Maybe we should call for a protest march where we go and hug him and all his followers plus the Brexiteers. After all they say love conquers all and what expresses love more than a hug? 🙋

            Liked by 1 person

            • I agree with you that black-and-white thinking gets us nowhere, but you are far more generous than I in seeing Trump as “a lost and lonely boy and a very scared”. I am all in favour of hugs, take and give as many as I can get, and my friend David has a blog that is all about spreading hugs and love. That said, I am a miserable failure, for if my life depended on it, I could not bring myself to hug Trump. When I look at a picture of him, I see evil oozing from his very pores. Sigh. He’s the first person in my 67 years that I have ever felt such deep, abiding hatred for. I could not even shake his hand, I fear. I’m sorry to disappoint you. 😉

              Like

              • Well, from afar I can think like that but my execution would probably be the same like yours. But I have started to ask myself if we are doing the same thing like them and therefore we will fail to change the situation. That is something I ask myself for a long time: how can we think ourselves “tolerant” and “open minded” when say about “these people” the same sort of thing they say about us. Does that make sense?

                Liked by 1 person

                • It makes all the sense in the world, my friend! I ask myself that very question at least once every day. I think that what sets ‘us’ apart from ‘them’ in this case is the very fact that we are asking the question. We soul-search almost constantly to make sure that we aren’t doing more harm than good, that we are focused and our words and deeds align with our values. When we say we are tolerant and open-minded, we are … we don’t judge others based on anything other than their actions. We aren’t biased based on skin colour, race, religion, rich or poor, fat or slim … but when I see a man hurt another for no good reason, I may well judge that man on his actions, on what he did. There is a difference between hating a person because they are a Muslim and hating a person because he set fire to your house. But, these divides have been around as long as humans have, so I don’t look for them to change anytime soon. But it doesn’t mean I’ll just give up and stop trying.

                  Like

I would like to hear your opinion, so please comment if you feel so inclined.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s