Oklahomans react to death of former president
Current and former officeholders across Oklahoma mourned the death of former President George H.W. Bush on Saturday, with some sharing stories of their service and friendship.
Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa: “George H.W. Bush loved this country and served it tirelessly and with a passion. As a naval aviator, an ambassador, director of the CIA, and as president of these great United States, George Bush put service to his nation and love for his family above all else. Kay and I have known the Bush family for a long time—dating back to their time in the Texas oil industry, traveling back and forth to Tulsa—and he was always a devoted husband and loving father. We were friends before we were in politics, and I am grateful for his friendship.
“Kay and I are praying for the entire Bush family as the nation mourns and honors one of America’s most loyal sons.”
Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City: “President George H W Bush was an American hero. He served our country in WWII and as the 41st president. Most of all, he was known for the love he had for his wife and family. Cindy and I pray for the Bush family as they grieve their loss.”
U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore: “I am deeply saddened by the passing of former President George H.W. Bush. He was an inspirational American figure and principled leader, who devoted his life to public service and benefiting the greater good. He was not defined by his politics but always by compassion for others and love of our great nation.
“As a Republican State Chairman, the NRCC’s Executive Director and a GOP political consultant, I interacted with George H.W. Bush on many occasions during the 1980s and 90s. I found him to be invariably thoughtful, substantive, modest and polite. President Bush always cared about others more than himself. He was the most grounded and least egotistical politician I ever met. His sheer decency and profound wisdom were often overlooked because he refused to boast about his many personal and political accomplishments. President Bush personified the virtues of the so called ‘greatest generation’ that won the Second World War and turned America into an economic powerhouse and a beacon of freedom that was the envy and hope of the world.
“Along with Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush led America to victory in the Cold War, consigning the old Soviet Union to the ash heap of history. When he departed office, he left the world at peace and America as the globe’s only and uncontested superpower. It was an amazing achievement that was unappreciated at the time.
“His legacy extends far beyond any office or position he held. First and foremost, he was a family man. George H.W. Bush was a devoted husband, beloved father and adored grandfather. My thoughts and prayers are with the entire Bush family as they mourn this incredibly difficult loss.”
U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Cheyenne: “The first time I met George H.W.. Bush he was Vice President of the United States and in the early stages of his successful run for President in 1988. I noted that day, that though he was a man of wealth from a very old stabilized east coast family, he wore a simple Timex watch and doodled patterns with a pencil on a piece of paper as he discussed every possible issue that could matter to a group of Oklahomans. I left that meeting impressed with him as a person and a knowledgeable leader.”
U.S. Rep. Steve Russell, R-Choctaw: "George H.W. Bush served our country in a capacity few human beings can ever claim: warrior, lawmaker, ambassador, Intelligence Chief, Vice President and President. His entire life embodied giving of himself. We have not only lost a former president, but a premier example of what service really means.”
U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Westville: "President George H.W. Bush was a dedicated public servant, outstanding statesmen, brave leader of the free world, and above all: a loyal husband and father. Our prayers are with all of the Bush family today. Rest In Peace, 41."
On Saturday, Gov. Mary Fallin directed all American and Oklahoma flags on state property be flown at half-staff for 30 days from the time of Bush's death.
Gov. Mary Fallin: "Former President George H.W. Bush will always have my respect for his service, character, and love for his wife, Barbara, and their family. As our 41st president, he vowed to lead a ‘kinder, gentler nation.’ He treated people fairly, regardless of political party."
Gov.-elect Kevin Stitt: "President Bush said it best when he said, 'any definition of a successful life must include service to others.' Today, we mourn the death of one of America's greatest public servants — a man who was the epitome of leadership and character."
Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter: "Pres. George H.W. Bush was an icon, who will be remembered for his decades of public service. He was a military hero & champion of many causes. His leadership has left a positive, lasting impact on our country that we should all be grateful for."
NASA Administrator and former U.S. Rep., Jim Bridenstine: “President Bush is a personal hero of mine and a major inspiration in my life. I remember like yesterday watching the 1992 Republican National Convention, learning of his life of sacrifice, and hearing his whimsical memories of ‘sitting on an aircraft carrier, looking at the stars, and dreaming about a girl named Barbara.’ From being the Navy’s youngest fighter pilot in World War II and being shot down, to his years of public service in Congress, the State Department, CIA, Vice President and President, there was nothing he wouldn’t give for our country and her people."
Former U.S. Sen. David L. Boren: “George Bush was a decent and caring man. As a leader, he always sought to put the good of the country ahead of himself. He deeply loved America and its people. His public service stands as an example for all of us of the spirit and values we desperately need in our political life in this country. I will miss him greatly as a personal friend.”
State Rep. Mike Sanders: “Nellie and I were so saddened to hear of the death of President Bush. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his son, President George W. Bush, and his entire family. The nation lost a true light and champion for conservative values and civility.”
State Sen. Greg McCortney: "H.W. Bush and Barbara were, in so many ways, role models for what public service and family should look like. God bless their family and all of us who have the chance to remember their example."