Just days ago, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 47, ordering U.S. and New Jersey flags to fly at half-staff to honor the life of former President George H.W. Bush, who died on November 30, 2018 from Parkinson-related complications at his home in Houston, Texas. The flags will be lowered until sunset on Sunday, December 30, 2018, consistent with federal law and directives.
“A true American leader both at war and in peace, President Bush was kind, heroic, thoughtful, and of the highest professional and personal character. He lived a life in service to his fellow Americans and taught those he touched with his unwavering integrity,” said Murphy.
“Having known him personally, Tammy and I were honored to claim him — as well as Barbara and other family members — as a friend.” Murphy remembered the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 2009, when he and his wife had an opportunity to host the President and Barbara Bush on his final overseas trip. “Highlighting his place as an honorary citizen of Berlin, I am proud to have had his portrait hung in the German Senate.,” said the New Jersey governor.
On the passing of Former President George H.W. Bush, AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins called him “a lifelong public servant.”
“We remember President George H.W. Bush for signing into law two bills that greatly improved older Americans’ lives: the Americans with Disabilities Act, passed in 1990, and the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act, which he signed the same year to strengthen the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967,” said Jenkins.
Jenkins adds, “President Bush fought ageism in another way, too: as he turned 75, 80, 85 and then 90, he marked milestone birthdays by skydiving. His first parachute jump wasn’t by choice, as it resulted from his fighter plane being shot down in World War II, but his later-in-life jumps showed his passion for life. President Bush lived a remarkable life of service, civility and patriotism. Everyone at AARP sends our sincerest sympathies to the Bush family.”
A National Hero and Public Servant
Bush, born on June 12, 1924 in Milton, Massachusetts, was a politician who served as the 41st President of the United States from 1989 to 1993. At age 94, he was the longest-lived U.S. President.
Before taking the office of president, Bush served as Vice President of the United States (from 1981 to 1989 under President Ronald Reagan. He previously had served as a GOP House lawmaker representing Texas’s 7th district, Ambassador to the United Nations in 1971, Chairperson of the National Republican Party (from January 19, 1973 to September 16, 1974) to and Chief of the Liaison Office in China in 1974, and later became the nation’s Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
After his son George W. Bush became President of the United States, he was referred to simply as “George H.W. Bush,” “Bush 41” or “George Bush Sr.” simply known as George Bush during the public service phase of his life.
On February 15, 2011, Democratic President Barack Obama gave Bush the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor that is given in the United States.
Bush was a member of America’s Greatest Generation. Following the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 on his 18th birthday he enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1942, becoming one of the youngest aviators at the time. During his three-year military service, completing 58 combat missions, his torpedo bomber was shot down in the western Pacific. He was the only member of his squadron to survive the mission which left him guilt-ridden for the rest of his life. He is the last living American president to have served in combat.
Once discharged in September 1945, he married Barbara Pierce four months later, producing six children George W., Robin (who died at age 4 of leukemia), Jeb, Neil, Marvin, and Doro. He would attend Yale University and graduate in 1948 and relocate his family to West Texas, he worked in the oil business becoming a millionaire by age 40.
Former President Bill Clinton says in a statement, “From the moment I met him as a young governor invited to his home in Kennebunkport, I was struck by the kindness he showed to Chelsea, by his innate and genuine decency, and by his devotion to Barbara, his children, and their growing brood.”
Praise from the Other Side of the Aisle
“Few Americans have been—or will ever be—able to match President Bush’s record of service to the United States and the joy he took every day from it; from his military service in World War II, to his work in Congress, the United Nations, China, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Vice Presidency and the Presidency, where he worked to move the post-Cold War world toward greater unity, peace, and freedom,” said Clinton, who beat Bush in the 1992 presidential election.
“He never stopped serving. I saw it up close, working with him on tsunami relief in Asia and here at home after Hurricane Katrina. His remarkable leadership and great heart were always on full display,” remarked the former Democratic President, saying “I am profoundly grateful for every minute I spent with President Bush and will always hold our friendship as one of my life’s greatest gifts. “
Bush will lie in state at the Capitol Rotunda from next Monday until Wednesday morning where his casket will be brought to the National Cathedral for the first of two funeral services (one private). Following the services Bush will be buried on the grounds of his presidential library at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, where his wife and Robin, his daughter who died of leukemia in 1953 are buried.
For details of Bush’s funeral services, go to https://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/washington-d-c-says-farewell-to-george-h-w-bush.