Late last Friday night my son called to tell me that President George HW Bush had died. The students at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M were on their way to the Bush school campus for a candlelight vigil, a few photos of which I’ve included here. With his passing, we’ve lost another of the Greatest Generation, a man who, like my Dad, put college on hold and went off to fight in a terrible war, and then came home and built businesses, careers and families. In the days since his death was announced, much has been said about the 94-year-old man who was our 41st President, 43rd Vice President, US Representative, Ambassador and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
I most appreciated what his longtime friend Larry Gatlin said in interview, which is that you can tell the character of a man by the way he treats the people who can’t do anything for them. President Bush treated everyone with the same respect and kindness, regardless of whether they were heads of state or small children who approached him when he was having an evening out in Houston, which is why my son has President Bush’s autograph on a Cirque du Soleil program. On Friday night my son was standing with fellow students at the Bush School in front of a monument on which is inscribed this quote from the President’s 1991 State of the Union Address. “Let future generations understand the duty and the blessings of freedom. Let them say we stood where duty required us to stand.”
The late President George H.W. Bush was a brave soldier, a man of honor, a successful businessman, and a tireless public servant. He was also a devoted Dad. His last minutes were spent in loving farewells to his children. Many people are successful in politics and business, but they fail at the hardest job of all – parenting. You never get a rulebook for it, you never get a vacation from it, and you never retire from it. There are days that to parent wisely is harder than sitting in the corner office or at the head of the long table. From an eternal perspective, the decisions we make at home are more important than any made at work, even if work is the Oval Office. Whether our work endeavors succeed or fail, whether we become famous or remain obscure, become wealthy or leave nothing materially are not important compared to the way we foster the next generation. This very successful man thought his family was his biggest accomplishment.
Photos courtesy of William Moore