End of an era

Sunday Herald Sun - - News -

FOR­MER US pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush, who guided Amer­ica through the end of the Cold War and launched the in­ter­na­tional cam­paign to drive Iraqi strong­man Sad­dam Hus­sein’s forces from Kuwait, died at his home in Hous­ton on Fri­day. He was 94.

Trib­utes quickly poured in for the 41st US pres­i­dent — a dec­o­rated World War II pi­lot, skilled diplo­mat and one-time CIA chief who also saw his son Ge­orge fol­low in his foot­steps to the Oval Of­fice.

Bush was cred­ited with cre­at­ing a world of ci­vil­ity and fur­ther­ing democ­racy, and was forth­right and com­mit­ted in his judg­ments.

His pass­ing comes just months af­ter the death in April of his wife Barbara — his “most beloved woman in the world” — to whom he was mar­ried for 73 years.

“Jeb, Neil, Marvin, Doro and I are sad­dened to an­nounce that af­ter 94 re­mark­able years, our dear dad has died,” for­mer pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush said in a state­ment.

“Ge­orge H.W. Bush was a man of the high­est char­ac­ter and the best dad a son or daugh­ter could ask for.”

Bush suf­fered from Parkin­son’s dis­ease and had used a wheel­chair for sev­eral years.

He was born into a wealthy po­lit­i­cal dy­nasty, but put his ca­reer on hold to join the US Navy and was the last serv­ing US pres­i­dent to have fought in World War II.

He flew 58 com­bat mis­sions and was shot down over the Pa­cific by Ja­panese anti-air­craft fire.

As he ac­cepted the Re­pub­li­can Party’s nom­i­na­tion for pres­i­dent in 1988, Bush pleaded for a “kinder, and gen­tler na­tion”.

He led the United States through the tur­bu­lent but largely peace­ful fall of the Soviet Union in 1989 and de­clared a “new world or­der” in 1990, driving Iraq from Kuwait in a mat­ter of weeks with a light­ning air and ground as­sault — and the back­ing of a coali­tion of 32 na­tions.

“He was more than a great man; he was a good man,” Bush’s grand­son Ge­orge P. Bush posted on so­cial me­dia.

“His courage was matched by his com­pas­sion; and his ded­i­ca­tion to coun­try was equalled only by his de­vo­tion to his fam­ily.”

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump yes­ter­day hailed Bush’s “sound judg­ment, com­mon­sense, and un­flap­pable lead­er­ship”.

“Through his es­sen­tial au­then­tic­ity, dis­arm­ing wit, and un­wa­ver­ing com­mit­ment to faith, fam­ily, and coun­try, Pres­i­dent Bush in­spired gen­er­a­tions of his fel­low Amer­i­cans to pub­lic ser­vice,” he said.

Prime Min­is­ter Scott Mor­ri­son said: “Aus­tralians join with the Amer­i­can peo­ple to mourn the loss of Pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush.”

A note writ­ten by Bush to Bill Clin­ton, who de­feated him af­ter one term in 1992, went vi­ral on so­cial me­dia overnight.

In the gra­cious mes­sage, dated Jan 20, 1993, Mr Bush wrote: “When I walked into this of­fice just now I felt the same sense of won­der and re­spect that I felt four years ago. I know you will feel that, too.”

“There will be very tough times, made even more dif­fi­cult by crit­i­cism you may not think is fair. I’m not a very good one to give ad­vice; but just don’t let the crit­ics dis­cour­age you or push you off course.

“Your suc­cess is now our coun­try’s suc­cess. I am root­ing hard for you.”

Pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush and first lady Barbara Bush in 1992; in Saudi Ara­bia dur­ing Op­er­a­tion Desert Shield in 1990; with Pres­i­dent Ger­ald Ford and Ron­ald Rea­gan in 1980; and (bot­tom) with son, Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush.

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