We praise the career of former President George H. W. Bush who died Friday at the age of 94 following many years of government service. During it he served as congressman, an ambassador to the United Nations, an envoy to China, chairman of the Republican National Committee, director of the CIA, two terms as vice president and finally as president of the United States of America.
Bush joined the Navy on his 18th birthday. His father had objected, wanting him to stay in school. At one point he reportedly became the youngest pilot in the Navy. He flew 58 missions off the carrier USS San Jacinto.
The young man who later became president won the Distinguished Flying Cross for bravery. He was shot down in September of 1944 while completing a bombing run against a Japanese radio tower. Eight others, reportedly, were shot down in that mission but Bush was rescued by an American submarine.
As a youngster, Bush attended Greenwich Country Day School and later Phillips Academy at Aldover, Massachusetts where he was senior class president. That is where he met Barbara Pierce who was daughter of the publisher of McCall’s Magazine. They were married at the beginning of 1945.
George and Barbara were together for more than seven decades, becoming the longest-married presidential couple in U. S. history. When out of the service, Bush resumed his education at Yale. He took just 2 ½ years to graduate Phi Beta Kappa.
He did not return to Wall Street to work with his dad. He instead loaded his wife and young son George W. into the family car and drove to the Texas oil patch to take a job as an equipment clerk for a company. By the turn of the decade, the Bush business had moved to Houston and that is where he got his start in politics. Both parties sought him because he was very well polished in such a roll.