Grace, Dignity, and Humility

The body of George H. W. Bush now lies between those of Barbara, his wife of 73 years, and their young daughter Robin, lost way too early to Leukemia. It is as it should be. If you don’t believe the three of them are back together, well, too bad. They are. Good for them. They deserve all the happiness the next world will provide.

After the last several days, is there anything more to be said? Maybe not, but I am going to give it a shot. George Bush was an amazing man. It is a shame it took his leaving us for some members of the media to finally step up and acknowledge his earthly accomplishments. Jon Meacham, the historian and Presidential biographer, spoke eloquently at Barbara Bush’s funeral and then this week at President Bush’s service at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C.. During his eulogy on Wednesday, he referred to GHWB as a “founding father of the 20th century”. How perfect. We stand in awe of the contributions to our beginnings as a democratic republic made by the likes of Jefferson, Adams, Hamilton, Washington and others. (The list is longer, but the more I go on, the better the chance of missing out on someone, and then that person’s fan club will take umbrage!) I, for one, stand equally in awe of what George Bush, this kinder, gentler man,  did for his country over the span of more than 70 years. He remains the single most qualified man to ever be President. Ever. 

What I will not do is repeat the list of his contributions to our great country. If you do not by now know them, you have been hiding in Siberia! What I will do is share how I have tried to reduce his life to something manageable. In today’s parlance, we would call it a soundbite. George Bush believed in winning with humility and losing with grace. George Bush never forgot his priorities. His family came first, and his friends came very closely behind. I remember decades ago when he was taking shots for keeping Dan Quayle on the ticket for his 1992 re-election campaign. He looked at a mob of reporters, and was clearly weary of answering the same old questions. Finally, he simply said, “Loyalty is not a character flaw”. Perfect. Beautiful. Succinct. True. To those who did not understand why loyalty is not a character flaw, he did not try to explain. It was their loss. 

George Bush imbued senses of loyalty, love, compassion, humility, dignity, and grace in his children. The close of George W. Bush’s eulogy this week is all you need to see to comprehend the deep love he and his siblings had for their dad. Click here to review this short clip. And my reference to the close friends not being far behind the President’s family? Well, take a look at former Secretary of State Jim Baker’s words spoken yesterday in Houston. Click here for that. This is his entire 10 minute eulogy. If you watched yesterday, do yourself a favor and just fast forward to the last 40 seconds. It is all you need to know about the love between these two great friends. if you did not see Secretary Baker’s comments, I suggest you take a 10 minute break, watch him, and then return to finish this article.

For just a few days, America came together to remember a great man. It begets the question, will we ever, ever see another person of George Bush’s character and capability enter the fray and serve our country? In short, I do not know. We have become a fractured people. There are millions of Americans who do not appear to value the very characteristics I am extolling today. That is a shame, and it is risk to our country. 

Let us rejoice in this wonderful man’s life, and let us pray we find a way through these dark, partisan times, and recommit ourselves to supporting true public servants. Let us celebrate grace, dignity, and humility. 

Rest in peace, George H. W. Bush. You were a great man.

More to follow-

Comments

  1. Douglas Holmes says

    Outstanding. Perhaps in future writings you could share stories of your personal interactions with your Uncle. Best DQH

  2. John J Segreto says

    Dear Jim:
    I was deeply saddened to hear the news of President Bush’s passing. He was a complete gentleman, a great political leader and an avowed patriot. The country lost a good and great man. I watched the entire television presentation and on many occasions,tears came to me because I realized what a loss to the nation 41″s death was. I shall keep him in my thoughts and prayers as I will the entire Bush and Pierce families. God Bless him and the entire family. Warmest Regards, John J Segreto (retired from American Offshore Insurance Syndicate – New York.

  3. MKJR says

    Thank you JRP.
    Blessings to G.H.W.B. on his new journey and yes, we will see the likes of him in the days ahead when we too move into the next realm. In the meantime, I will look for his characteristics, sense of humor, compassionate conservatism, and gentlemen demeanor in each encounter, and encourage, and affirm it when I see it all my days. Thank you G.H.W.B., and J.R.P.
    MKJR

  4. Patrick Shanahan says

    God bless you and your family Jim. I never connected the dots between you and the Bush Family before. GHWB was an American original: a gentleman, a hero, one of the most dignified leaders we have been blessed with. I can only imagine the deep loss you must feel.

  5. Ralph D'Angelo says

    Jim
    Yoko and I watched the whole time and we were so impressed with the words spoken on behalf of one of the greatest Presidents this nation ever had. As you say he was the most qualified person ever to have held the office and it will be hard to find anybody else with those qualifications ever again.
    He was a great leader, a hero and a true gentleman and patriot. We hope you and the family will continue to celebrate his contributions to our country and again please accept our sincere condolences on your loss.
    Best Personal Regards
    Ralph & Yoko D’Angelo

  6. Debbie LeHardy says

    Hi Jim Pierce! This is a wonderful article. This is Debbie Smith LeHardy and I used to work with Stephanie at Ouisie’s all those years ago. I lost track of Steph & Scott so if you see them, please give them my love. I am in D.C. and attended the funeral here. President George H.W. Bush and Barbara were beacons for me and so many others. The Earth may never be the same without them.

    • says

      Wow… throwback! Thanks so much for writing. Scott and Steph are still here in H-Town. I will make sure they see this note. I trust you are well, and it is great to hear from you.

  7. John Duffy says

    Hi Jim
    Awaited your commentary, and appreciate that you timed it and wrote after the events of the week. I was traveling on business – so saw just news highlights too often repeating the President greetings in DC. Will play the eulogies.

    A great life well lived in service to our country. A faithful Episcopalian was GWHB, our sermon today opened “It is a great week to be an Episcopalian”; the workd saw us, thru him.

    Best to you and the family

  8. Ross Curtis says

    Jim,
    My first exposure to GHWB was an appearance he made at my college. I believe he was Chairman of the Republican National Committee at the time. He was appearing just post-Vietnam in front of a packed house of predominantly liberal college students. Unlike today, he was not heckled off the stage, but he was peppered with some pretty aggressive questioning. I will never forget the aplomb he demonstrated in calmly and rationally answering the questions. I became a fan that day and am pleased to report have remained so ever since.
    My condolences on your loss.
    Ros

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