Remembering George H.W. Bush: 1924 – 2018
People around the world are mourning the passing of George H.W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States, who died on Friday, November 30, at the age of 94, at his home in Houston, Texas. His last words – “I love you, too” – were spoken to his son, George W. Bush, the 43rd President, author 41: A PORTRAIT OF MY FATHER, among other books. He announced the death of his “dear dad” Friday night, saying, “George H.W. Bush was a man of the highest character and the best dad a son or daughter could ask for. The entire Bush family is deeply grateful for 41’s life and love, for the compassion of those who have cared and prayed for dad, and for the condolences of our friends and fellow citizens.”
Among the outpouring of tributes and remembrances, Random House author Jon Meacham, who wrote the definitive biography of the 41st President, DESTINY AND POWER: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush, shared his personal thoughts in a New York Times Op-Ed column, which read, in part: “George Herbert Walker Bush was the last President of the Greatest Generation, a gentleman who came of age in an ever-uglier arena, the embodiment of a postwar era of consensus that, in our time, seems as remote as Agincourt. He deserves our praise, but he also repays closer historical consideration, for his life offers an object lesson in the best that politics, which is inherently imperfect, can be. What mattered to him was not what one said or did to rise to ultimate authority. What mattered was whether one was principled and selfless once in command. And as president of the United States, Mr. Bush was surely that … The nation mourns him not least because we no longer have a president who knows that the story of the nation is not all about him. In the last years of his life, President Bush was asked how he’d like to be remembered. He didn’t pause — and he avoided, as ever, the first-person pronoun, what his mother used to call the ‘Great I Am’ — and replied: ‘That we put the country first.’” Read the complete column by Mr. Meacham here.
There were more tributes to George H.W. Bush, from world leaders, family members and longtime colleagues, as well as the current and former U.S. Presidents, who are also Penguin Random House authors. Here are excerpts:
- Former President Barack Obama and Former First Lady Michelle Obama: “While our hearts are heavy today, they are also filled with gratitude. Not merely for the years he spent as our forty-first President, but for the more than 70 years he spent in devoted service to the country he loved — from a decorated Naval aviator who nearly gave his life in World War II, to Commander-in-Chief of our Armed Forces, with plenty of posts along the way. George H.W. Bush’s life is a testament to the notion that public service is a noble, joyous calling.”
- Former President Bill Clinton: “Hillary and I mourn the passing of President George H.W. Bush, and give thanks for his great long life of service, love, and friendship. I will be forever grateful for the friendship we formed. 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 … 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. 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. 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.”
- President Donald Trump: “Through his essential authenticity, disarming wit, and unwavering commitment to faith, family, and country, President Bush inspired generations of his fellow Americans to public service—to be, in his words, ‘a thousand points of light’ illuminating the greatness, hope, and opportunity of America to the world … With sound judgment, common sense, and unflappable leadership, President Bush guided our Nation, and the world, to a peaceful and victorious conclusion of the Cold War. As President, he set the stage for the decades of prosperity that have followed.”
Our deepest condolences to George H.W. Bush’s family, friends, and colleagues.
Read the New York Times George H.W. Bush obituary here.