Like the rest of the nation I was saddened to hear of the death of the 41st President of the United States, George H. W. Bush. I came of age during the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and George Bush. There were often stories about them and their policies on the front page of the Houston Chronicle in the mornings, and stories about them on the NBC Nightly News each night. They were part of the background of my life growing up.
Though Bush was president for only four years it was a very eventful period and as president he had several significant achievements. In 1990 he signed the bipartisan Americans with Disabilities Act which made many public spaces accessible to people with disabilities. That same year he signed another bipartisan bill which updated the Clean Water Act. He also established the Points of Light award to recognize and encourage volunteerism. In the area of foreign affairs he successfully led the world through the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union. In addition he led a successful coalition which liberated Kuwait from Iraqi forces.
Bush was the last president from the World War II generation and embodied the tradition of public service in American life which for him began as an aviator during that war. This same spirit of public service was displayed after he was president when he joined with former president Bill Clinton to raise money for disaster relief after the 2005 Indian Ocean tsunami. Though he did not wear his faith on his sleeve he was a lifelong member of the Episcopal Church, and was a member Saint Martin’s in Houston and a worshiper at Saint Ann’s Kennebunkport, Maine.
Though not a graduate of Texas A&M he became part of the university’s life and won the affection of many in Bryan/College Station when he established his presidential library, museum, and a school of government at Texas A&M. He will be laid to rest there next to his beloved wife, Barbara.
In his honor December 5th will be declared a National Day of Mourning and a State Funeral will be held for him at the National Cathedral with services also to be conducted in Houston at Saint Martin’s Episcopal Church.
Let us all give thanks for the life and legacy of President George H.W. Bush. May his soul, and the souls of all the departed, rest in peace.
“Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your servant George. Acknowledge, we humbly beseech you, a sheep of your own fold, a lamb of your own flock, a sinner of your own redeeming. Receive him into the arms of your mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints in light. Amen.”