George H.W. Bush, a decorated WWII veteran who went on to become our nation’s 41st president and father of fellow commander-in-chief George W. Bush, has died at age 94.
George Herbert Walker Bush was born on June 12, 1924, in Milton, Massachusetts, to a family of respected industrialists and politicians (his father was US Senator Prescott Bush). He enlisted in the armed forces on his 18th birthday, flying 58 combat missions during WWII and receiving various medals for bravery in action.
While serving in the Navy, Bush married the love of his life, Barbara Pierce. The two had met at a Christmas dance weeks before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. They wrote constant letters to each other throughout the war, with Bush naming all three of his planes “Barbara.” The pair would go on to have six children, and eventually become the longest married presidential couple in US history.
After graduating Yale, the young vet moved his family to Texas to pursue a career in the oil industry. He then followed his father into the political arena, serving two terms as a Republican congressional representative for the Lone Star State. Bush was widely trusted and respected by his peers, so much so that his career in public service quickly skyrocketed. The statesman held several influential posts, among them ambassador to the UN, chairman of the Republican National Committee, and director of the CIA.
In 1980, Ronald Reagan chose Bush as his vice president. The two would lead the country through the ’80s, with Bush succeeding the Republican icon in 1988. His presidency saw the collapse of the Soviet Union, an armed conflict with Iraq, and the establishment of the successful Thousand Points of Light volunteer movement in the US.
The president lost his reelection bid in 1992 to Bill Clinton, but he wouldn’t be the last Bush to hold higher office: His eldest son, George, went on to become the 43rd commander-in-chief in 2001.
“We must act on what we know,” Bush once said. “I take as my guide the hope of a saint: In crucial things, unity; in important things, diversity; in all things, generosity.”
His loving partner, Barbara, passed away on April 17, 2018, at the age of 92. Bush is survived by George, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, and three other children, as well as several grandkids (including news personality Jenna Bush Hager) and great-grandkids. His family is in our thoughts and prayers.