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-