Bush mourned as great states­man

The Progress-Index - - FRONT PAGE - By Dar­lene Su­perville and John Rogers

WASH­ING­TON — For­mer Pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush re­turned to Wash­ing­ton as a revered po­lit­i­cal states­man, hailed by lead­ers across the po­lit­i­cal spec­trum and around the world as a man not only of great­ness but also of un­com­mon de­cency and kind­ness.

Bush, who died late Fri­day at his Houston home at age 94, is to be hon­ored with a state fu­neral at Na­tional Cathe­dral in the na­tion’s cap­i­tal on Wed­nes­day, fol­lowed by burial Thurs­day on the grounds of his pres­i­den­tial li­brary at Texas A&M.

Be­fore that, his body will lie in state in the Capi­tol Ro­tunda for a pub­lic view­ing from his ar­rival in Wash­ing­ton on Mon­day un­til Wed­nes­day morn­ing.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, who or­dered fed­eral of­fices closed for a na­tional day of mourn­ing on Wed­nes­day, is to at­tend with first lady Me­la­nia Trump and other high-rank­ing of­fi­cials.

Bush’s crown­ing achieve­ment as pres­i­dent was as­sem­bling the in­ter­na­tional mil­i­tary coali­tion that lib­er­ated the tiny, oil-rich na­tion of Kuwait from in­vad­ing neigh­bor Iraq in 1991 in a war that lasted just 100 hours. He also presided over the end of the Cold War be­tween the United States and the for­mer Soviet Union.

“We didn’t agree much on do­mes­tic pol­icy, but when it came to the in­ter­na­tional side of things, he was a very wise and thought­ful man,” for­mer Mas­sachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, a Demo­crat who lost the pres­i­dency to Bush in 1988, told The As­so­ci­ated Press on Satur­day. He cred­ited Bush’s abil­ity to ne­go­ti­ate with for­mer Soviet leader Mikhail Gor­bachev as play­ing a key role.

“It was a time of great change, de­mand­ing great re­spon­si­bil­ity from ev­ery­one,” Gor­bachev told the In­ter­fax news agency. “The re­sult was the end of the Cold War and nu­clear arms race.”

Dur­ing that time and af­ter, Gor­bachev said, he al­ways ap­pre­ci­ated the kind­ness Bush and his fam­ily showed him.

In Wash­ing­ton, the for­mer Repub­li­can pres­i­dent won praise from lead­ers of both par­ties.

Repub­li­can House Speaker Paul Ryan lauded him for lead­ing the na­tion with “de­cency and in­tegrity,” while Demo­cratic House leader Nancy Pelosi said it was a “priv­i­lege to work with him.”

Repub­li­can Sen. Bob Corker of Ten­nessee said Bush “be­friended po­lit­i­cal foes, re­mind­ing Amer­i­cans that there is al­ways more that unites us than di­vides us.”

At the G-20 sum­mit in Argentina, Ger­man Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel, who was raised in East Ger­many, told re­porters she likely would never have be­come her coun­try’s leader had Bush not pressed for the na­tion’s re­uni­fi­ca­tion in 1990.

A hum­ble hero of World War II, Bush was just 20 when he sur­vived be­ing shot down dur­ing a bomb­ing run over Ja­pan. He had en­listed in the U.S. Navy on his 18th birth­day.

Shortly be­fore leav­ing the ser­vice, he mar­ried his 19-year-old sweet­heart, Bar­bara Pierce, a union that lasted un­til her death ear­lier this year.

Af­ter mil­i­tary ser­vice, Bush en­rolled in Yale Univer­sity, where he would be­come a schol­arath­lete, cap­tain­ing the base­ball team to two Col­lege World Se­ries be­fore grad­u­at­ing Phi Beta Kappa af­ter just 2 ½ years.

Af­ter mov­ing to Texas to work in the oil busi­ness, Bush turned his at­ten­tion to pol­i­tics in the 1960s, be­ing elected to his first of two terms in Congress in 1967. He would go on to serve as am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions and China, head of the CIA and chair­man of the Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee be­fore be­ing elected to two terms as Ronald Rea­gan’s vice pres­i­dent.

Soon af­ter he reached the zenith of his po­lit­i­cal pop­u­lar­ity fol­low­ing the lib­er­a­tion of Kuwait, the U.S. econ­omy be­gan to sour and vot­ers be­gan to be­lieve that Bush, never a great or­a­tor, was out of touch with or­di­nary peo­ple.

He lost his bid for re­elec­tion to then-Arkansas Gov. Bill Clin­ton, who would later be­come a close friend. The pair worked to­gether to raise tens of mil­lions of dol­lars for vic­tims of a 2004 In­dian Ocean tsunami and Hur­ri­cane Ka­t­rina, which swamped New Or­leans and the Gulf Coast in 2005.

“Who would have thought that I would be work­ing with Bill Clin­ton of all peo­ple?” he joked in 2005.

Clin­ton said he would be “for­ever grate­ful” for that friend­ship.

[ROBERT F. BUKATY/THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS]

Cathy Rogers pays her re­spects at a makeshift me­mo­rial for Pres­i­dent Ge­orge H. W. Bush across from Walker’s Point, the Bush’s sum­mer home, Satur­day in Ken­neb­unkport, Maine.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.