Today we remember President George H.W. Bush, who passed away on November 30, 2018 and who lies in state today at the U.S. capital.
*** 41st President of the United States ***
In office January 20, 1989 – January 20, 1993
George Herbert Walker Bush (June 12, 1924 – November 30, 2018) served as the 41st President of the United States from 1989 to 1993. Prior to assuming the presidency, Bush served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States from 1981 to 1989. As a member of the Republican Party, he had previously been a U.S. Representative, Ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence. During his career in public service, he was known simply as George Bush; after his eldest son George W. Bush became President of the United States in 2001, he was referred to as “George H. W. Bush”, “Bush 41”, or “George Bush Sr”.
In his Inaugural Address, Bush said:
I come before you and assume the Presidency at a moment rich with promise. We live in a peaceful, prosperous time, but we can make it better. For a new breeze is blowing, and a world refreshed by freedom seems reborn; for in man’s heart, if not in fact, the day of the dictator is over. The totalitarian era is passing, its old ideas blown away like leaves from an ancient, lifeless tree. A new breeze is blowing, and a nation refreshed by freedom stands ready to push on. There is new ground to be broken, and new action to be taken.
According to USA Today, the legacy of Bush’s presidency was defined by his victory over Iraq after the invasion of Kuwait, and for his presiding over the collapse of the USSR and unification of Germany. USA Today said his political legacy would “continue years later through his son, George W. Bush, who became the 43rd president of the United States.” Matt Picht from Newsy said that in Bush’s legacy, he is remembered as a Foreign Policy President, for presiding over the collapse of the USSR, post Cold War relations with Russia, and for signing the START 1 treaty on nuclear weaponry.
According to presidential historian Mark K. Updegrove, President Bush “cemented” the tradition of presidents leaving behind letters of support for their successors on the Resolute Desk. While Reagan had been the first modern president to do so in 1989, Bush’s move was significant in that his gesture of goodwill was made towards Clinton, the man to whom Bush had just lost the election.
Career before politics: After graduating in 1948 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Yale, Bush moved his young family to West Texas. His father’s business connections proved useful as he ventured into the oil business, starting as an oil field equipment salesman for Dresser Industries, a subsidiary of Brown Brothers Harriman & Co., where Prescott Bush had served on the board of directors for 22 years. While working for Dresser, Bush lived in various places with his family: Odessa, Texas; Ventura, Bakersfield and Compton, California; and Midland, Texas. Bush started the Bush-Overbey Oil Development company in 1951 and in 1953 co-founded the Zapata Petroleum Corporation, an oil company that drilled in the Permian Basin in Texas. In 1954, he was named president of the Zapata Offshore Company, a subsidiary which specialized in offshore drilling.
Shortly after the subsidiary became independent in 1959, Bush moved the company and his family from Midland to Houston. He continued serving as president of the company until 1964, and later chairman until 1966, when he won election to the U.S. House of Representatives. By that time, Bush had become a millionaire.
President Bush was raised in the Episcopal Church. He cited various moments in his life deepening of his faith, including his escape from Japanese forces in 1944, and the death of his three-year-old daughter Robin in 1953. His faith was reflected in his Thousand Points of Light speech, his support for prayer in schools, and his support for the pro-life movement (following his election as vice president).
After his wife’s death in April 2018, Bush said, “We have faith she is in heaven, and we know life will go on — as she would have it. So, cross the Bushes off your worry list.”
• Birth date: June 12, 1924
• Death date: November 30, 2018
• Birth place: Milton, Massachusetts
• Birth name: George Herbert Walker Bush
• Father: Prescott Bush, investment banker and senator
• Mother: Dorothy (Walker) Bush
• Marriage: Barbara (Pierce) Bush (January 6, 1945-April 17, 2018, her death)
• Children: Dorothy; Marvin; Neil; John (Jeb); Pauline (Robin), died of leukemia; George
• Education: Yale University, B.A., 1948
• Military service: US Navy, 1942-1945, Lieutenant Junior Grade
• Religion: Episcopalian
• Bush was the first sitting vice president to be elected president since Martin van Buren in 1836.
• He is the second president, after John Adams, to be the father of a president.
• Flew 58 combat missions for the Navy during World War II and was awarded three Air Medals and the Distinguished Flying Cross.
• Had a form of Parkinson’s disease.
• His nickname since childhood has been Poppy, and that’s how he was known at Yale, especially as a baseball player.