BOSTON GLOBE: George Herbert Walker Bush, a late 20th-century president and the father of an early 21st-century president and a World War II aviator who served as commander-in-chief during the first Gulf War, died Friday. He was 94.
Mr. Bush, a New England patrician whose political base was Texas, was a diplomat, House member, party chairman, intelligence chief, and two-term vice president. His own presidency from 1989 to 1993 coincided with the end of the Cold War abroad and with the beginnings of voter rebellion at home. A gifted foreign-policy leader who was defeated for reelection because of public uneasiness with the economy, he would see his oldest son, George W. Bush, inaugurated president in 2001.
Click here to read the full story by reporter David. M. Shribman.
Reaction to President Bush’s death
Texas House Speaker Joe Straus led the tributes to President Bush. The Straus and Bush families have a friendship that dates back decades. Speaker Straus’ mother, Joci, was an avid supporter of President Bush’s dating back to the 1960s. Speaker Straus worked for President Bush’s advance team during his time as Vice President and also worked in the Commerce Department during President Bush’s administration. In addition, Speaker Straus’ wife, Julie, worked on the staff of President Bush’s 1988 campaign.
Speaker Joe Straus:
“President George Bush lived his entire life in service to his country. History will remember him as a man who made America stronger and more secure, who served bravely as a Navy aviator and led boldly as Commander in Chief, who made difficult decisions even when they weren’t politically convenient, and who governed with strength and pragmatism. He was all of those things, and a statesman in every sense of the word.
“But just as importantly, George Bush was the type of person who all of us should aspire to be: He was an unfailingly kind man who never wavered in his devotion to his family, his principles, his country, and his belief in serving others. For all the acts of service that he inspired and encouraged, it was his life that proved to be the most brilliant point of light of all. My family and I were honored to call President and Mrs. Bush our friends for many decades, and we will always be grateful to have known them and to have witnessed their enormous contribution to the country they so deeply loved.”
Texas A&M University Chancellor John Sharp:
“Not only was George H.W. Bush one of the greatest presidents in our nation’s history, he also was one of the finest men to serve our country in so many ways. We are proud to call him a son of Texas A&M University and will do everything in our power, through his presidential library, to keep his memory and accomplishments alive for all time.”
Congressman Vicente Gonzalez:
“Today, we mourn the loss of the 41st U.S. President, a father, a patriot, and a fellow Texan. As a public servant and a decorated service member, President Bush, Sr. set a high bar for decency and civility. This morning my thoughts are with the president’s family as they remember their father and grandfather, and also with the American people as they celebrate the life of a statesman. May he soon reunite with his friends; loved ones; and his beloved wife, Barbara.”
Congressman Henry Cuellar:
“Today, we remember President George H.W. Bush and the incredible legacy that he leaves behind. His unyielding leadership, commitment and servitude to his family and to our country will be matched by none.
“George H.W. Bush was a loving husband and father, a WWII veteran and consummate public servant, leading our country as the 41st President. He also served in many other capacities such as Vice President, Congressman from Texas, Director of the CIA and Ambassador to the UN. His commitment to public service and to our nation leave behind an everlasting legacy that inspires us and generations to come. My heartfelt condolences go to the Bush family during this difficult time.“
Congressman Filemon Vela:
“Few men in American history embody a lifetime of public service quite like George H.W. Bush. He was a Naval Aviator, U.S. Representative, Ambassador to the U.N., Director of Central Intelligence, Vice President, and ultimately, President of this great nation. We are honored that he called Texas home. I join all those who mourn this once in a generation American leader and send my deepest condolences to the Bush family.”
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick:
“Jan and I express our deepest condolences to the Bush family on the passing of our former President, George H. W. Bush. President Bush was a great Texan whose life and work exemplify public service and love for his country. His lasting legacy will inspire Americans for generations to come.”
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz:
“Today, American hearts are heavy as we bid farewell to President George H.W. Bush. He will be remembered as a good and faithful servant to his country, whose great legacy of leadership and love of homeland became a family tradition, earned him the admiration of countless Americans, and secured him a special place in the memory of every Texan.
“Over his storied career, President Bush was a war hero and a businessman, a legislator and an ambassador. His time as Vice President prepared him well for the heavy burdens of that highest office, steering our nation through the fall of the Berlin Wall and the First Gulf War.
“President Bush was the last of the Greatest Generation to sit in the Oval Office, but his resolve will not be lost to the past; it will triumph onward. In his words, ‘the old ideas are new again because they are not old, they are timeless: duty, sacrifice, commitment, and a patriotism that finds its expression in taking part and pitching in.’
“Today, George and his beloved Barbara are together, enjoying a well-deserved rest from their labors.
“Today, his spirit joins a thousand points of light with his Creator, by whose brilliance may all our works be illuminated and inspired.”
Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa:
“Yesterday, we were deeply saddened to hear the passing of former President George H.W. Bush who served this country with humility, dignity, and courage.
“A war hero. A congressman. A diplomat. A vice president and president. A Texan. No one can question that President Bush loved and respected America and Texas.
“Texas Democrats mourn his passing and honor his dedication to our country. The life he lived was remarkable and our prayers are with the Bush family and everyone who loved, respected, and admired him.”
Bob Kafka, ADAPT:
Whether you are a Democrat, Republican, or Independent, President George H.W. Bush will be remembered as a champion of disability rights.
In a different era when D’s and R’s worked together for positive outcomes for the American people. the ADA was passed which was a crowning acheivement for the disability community.
The coordinated national and state advocacy by a united disability community made the passage of the ADA possible. Though we may know the names of some of those who made the bill possible like Justin Dart, Evan Kemp, Pat Wright, Lex Frieden, Wade Blank, there were hundreds, maybe thousands, of folks who advocated for and made the ADA a reality. These are the unknown and unrecognized champions.
President Bush supported the bill even though there was quite a bit of conservative opposition to its passage. Many Congressional leaders had family members with disabilities which made the legislation personal. The pressure by the disability community contributed to its final passage.
I remember the ADAPT Capitol Crawl one day and taking over the Rotunda and getting arrested the next, chanting “We Will Ride” and “Access is a Civil Right”.
It ain’t the ’90’s anymore however we have challenges not only to the ADA but to other disability rights and services.
Don’t Mourn Organize and Rev Up.
Editor’s Note: The main photo accompanying the above tribute story was taken by David J. Phillip for the Associated Press.