Remembering our 41st president: Column
By Rep. Dan Newhouse
The passing of President George Herbert Walker Bush last Friday evening calls us to reflect on the actions and character of this outstanding public servant.
Born with wealth and a powerful family name, Bush chose to dedicate himself to service greater than himself. He once said, “The American Dream means giving it your all, trying your hardest, accomplishing something. And then I’d add to that, giving something back. No definition of a successful life can do anything but include serving others.”
Bush was spurred to sign up for military service by the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, and he joined the U.S. Navy the following year as soon as he turned 18. During World War II he flew Navy torpedo bombers, and his plane was shot down during a mission. Rescued from sea, he would receive a Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism under fire. Bush was the last president to have served in that conflict.
Bush served our nation in a multitude of roles and always faithfully. He won elected office in Congress, then served as U.S. envoy to China and ambassador to the United Nations. He was appointed to lead the Central Intelligence Agency as director under President Gerald Ford. President Ronald Reagan tapped him for vice president after a bruising presidential primary.
Elected president in 1988, President Bush led the U.S. in a world that seems unrecognizable from that of today. History will show that he was a steady hand during global challenges and crises, from the reunification of Germany to the impending dissolution of the Soviet Union. His diplomatic skills enabled him to lead a global coalition to oust Saddam Hussein’s invading armies from Kuwait.
Bush started a post-presidency initiative to encourage volunteerism, believing that fellow citizens can serve as “a thousand points of light” to help our communities. He had no doubt that the future of the United States of America was a bright one: “I do not mistrust the future; I do not fear what is ahead. For our problems are large, but our heart is larger.”
George H. W. Bush was a true statesman and a faithful public servant to the American people. In the words of historian and biographer Jon Meacham, “this is a man whose innate grace was something that no one need exaggerate to commemorate … . He managed … to combine a spirit of service – to give back – with a great spirit of adventure.”
Godspeed to President Bush on his final adventure: his eternal reward and to be with his beloved wife Barbara.
Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., represents Washington’s 4th District in the U.S. House of Representatives. To send an email to Rep. Newhouse, go to https://newhouse.house.gov/contact.