December 5th, 2018 has been declared a national day of mourning to honour the late U.S. President George H.W. Bush. The federal government and the stock exchange will be closed among other things.
I heard a historian speaking on the radio and he reminded me that George H.W. Bush was the last U.S. President to serve in active duty. He fought in the war and then went on to represent his country in the White House.
One story the historian mentioned really touched me. He said the day Ronald Reagan was shot and went under anaesthetic while they operated on him to save his life, Bush, as Vice President, was technically President in that moment. But when the leaders got together to discuss what to do next, Bush refused to sit in Reagan’s chair. He left it empty. Out of loyalty and respect.
Someone called into the radio show I was listening to and said that he had met a Secret Service agent at a football game once and the agent told him that of all the people he had protected over the years, George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara were the kindest. Good people.
Power can do many things to people and sometimes kindness doesn’t make it through the journey. But it did for the 41st President.
The country will stop to remember a man who signed up for the navy on his 18th birthday, six months after Pearl Harbor, and while still in high school. One of the youngest naval pilots in World War II. Who flew 58 combat missions.
His granddaughter Barbara Bush said she thought she knew why he left now. She said he spent 8 months away from the love of his life, his fiancée Barbara, when fighting in World War II. Then he arrived home safe on Christmas Eve and spent every Christmas with her since then. His wife passed away 8 months ago and this would have been his first Christmas without her. His granddaughter feels he wanted to spend this Christmas with her too. So he went to join her.
What a beautiful thought. That kind of love. That kind of service to your country.
May we all strive to live a life full of love and honour and kindness.