Tributes to George H. W. Bush have been abundant since the former president passed away last Friday, and it is good that he is largely being remembered as a man who put faith and family first.
Bush lived quite the life, but it was hardly a life of ease as some people might think about one of this country’s most successful political families.
He served as a Navy pilot in World War II, flying 58 combat missions and winning the Distinguished Flying Cross. During a September 1944 bombing mission, Bush was forced to parachute into the Pacific Ocean south of Japan. The Japanese searched for him, but a U.S. submarine found him first. Bush thanked God for saving his life and asked, “Why had I been spared and what did God have for me?”
He and his beloved wife Barbara also were tested in the early 1950s when their 3-year-old daughter Robin died of leukemia. Their little girl was never far from their thoughts.
It is human nature to think that the troubles of the current day are more difficult than what others have faced in the past, but a review of what was happening in the world at the time Bush was president shows he piloted the country through some huge happenings in the world. While the former U. S. Congressman, United Nations ambassador, chair of the Republican National Committee, U.S. envoy to China, director of the CIA, and two-term vice president was only in the Oval Office for four years, during that time the world saw the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, the reunification of Germany, a successful military campaign to drive Iraqi invaders out of Kuwait, and major domestic financial problems. As Dr. Gary S. Smith of the Center for Vision & Values said in a tribute, Bush always kept the focus on faith, morality, service, and family values.
When someone passes away it is common and fitting to look past the few faults and failures which all people have, and even former political enemies cast aside their past differences to pay their respects. Bush certainly had his political victories and defeats during his long life of service, but that previously mentioned focus on faith, service, and family was always at his core. Following that example would be the best possible tribute to George H. W. Bush. —Mark Sherry