George H.W. Bush (1924-2018)

By Rod Dreher

News just in that George H.W. Bush has died. Whatever you thought of his politics, he was a deeply admirable gentleman. Karen Tumulty’s obituary for him in the Washington Post says it all right here:

Although Mr. Bush served as president three decades ago, his values and ethic seem centuries removed from today’s acrid political culture. His currency of personal connection was the handwritten letter — not the social media blast.

I was never much of a fan of President Bush the Elder’s politics, especially the New World Order stuff, but his modesty and dignity always struck a chord. More:

No president before had arrived with his breadth of experience: decorated Navy pilot, successful oil executive, congressman, United Nations delegate, Republican Party chairman, envoy to Beijing, director of Central Intelligence.

Over the course of a single term that began on Jan. 20, 1989, Mr. Bush found himself at the helm of the world’s only remaining superpower. The Berlin Wall fell; the Soviet Union ceased to exist; the communist bloc in Eastern Europe broke up; the Cold War ended.

His firm, restrained diplomatic sense helped assure the harmony and peace with which these world-shaking events played out, one after the other.

Do you remember living through those years? Things could have gone much worse than they did for the world. President Bush’s steadiness was exactly what we needed. It wasn’t quite so clear back then, when his verbal maladroitness and Oxford-shirt Establishmentarianism made him easy to caricature.

This is interesting too:

That he was perceived as lacking in grit was another irony in the life of Mr. Bush. His was a character that had been forged by trial. He was an exemplary story of a generation whose youth was cut short by the Great Depression and World War II.

Talk about another world! We could stand a lot more of that Yankee modesty, courtesy, and steadfastness in our leaders. Read:

Prescott Bush wanted his son to go right to Yale upon graduation from Andover. But Mr. Bush said his father had also insisted that privilege carried a responsibility to “put something back in, do something, help others.”

His own time to serve came on his 18th birthday, when he enlisted in the Navy; within a year, he received his wings and became one of the youngest pilots in the service.

Sent to the Pacific, he flew torpedo bombers off the aircraft carrier San Jacinto. On Sept. 2, 1944, his plane was hit by Japanese ground fire during a bombing run on Chichi Jima in the Bonin Islands in the western Pacific. He pressed his attack even though his plane was aflame.

Mr. Bush bailed out over the ocean and was rescued by a submarine. His two crewmen were killed. The future president was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Tumulty’s obituary — I hope you’ll read the whole thing — makes a point that can’t be overstated: that you can’t appreciate what George H.W. Bush achieved in managing the end of the Cold War and the break-up of the Soviet empire without understanding …read more

Via:: American Conservative


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