Ge­orge H.W. Bush shows how to live a worth­while life

The Star Democrat - - OPINION -

The life of for­mer Pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush leaves the cul­ture fo­cused on one no­ble per­sonal trait that serves as a se­cret to suc­cess: self­less hu­mil­ity.

On the day of his death, Bush was among only 45 men in his­tory to serve as pres­i­dent of the United States. Yet, by ac­counts of his fam­ily and clos­est friends, that was an also-ran as­pect of the way he self-iden­ti­fied in the 25 years since leav­ing the White House in Jan­uary 1993.

Bush con­sid­ered him­self a hus­band and fa­ther who, oh-bythe-way, served four years as pres­i­dent. He never boasted of him­self or had a hate­ful or hurt­ful thing to say about any­one else.

As a naval avi­a­tor in 1944, Bush nearly died. He parachuted into the Pa­cific Ocean. Upon his res­cue, he asked him­self: “Why had I been spared and what did God have for me?” He did not waste a mo­ment of his sec­ond chance.

Af­ter los­ing re-elec­tion to Bill Clin­ton in 1992, Bush could have been bit­ter. He could have trav­eled the coun­try mak­ing snarky re­marks about any­thing he dis­liked re­gard­ing his suc­ces­sor’s words and deeds.

In­stead, Bush went home. There, he qui­etly lived his life while hop­ing and pray­ing for Clin­ton to suc­ceed.

He loved his coun­try so much he wanted his po­lit­i­cal foe to out­per­form him in the White House, for the ben­e­fit of those the of­fice ser ves.

He wanted Clin­ton to know as much and made it clear in a hand­writ­ten let­ter he left in the White House on his way out the door.

Dear Bill,

When I walked into this of­fice just now I felt the same sense of won­der and re­spect that I felt four yours ago. I know you will feel that, too.

I wish you great hap­pi­ness here. I never felt the lone­li­ness some Pres­i­dents have de­scribed.

There will be very tough times, made even more dif­fi­cult by crit­i­cism you may not thin 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.

You will be our pres­i­dent when you read this note. I wish you well. I wish your fam­ily well.

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

Good Luck — Ge­orge

All Amer­i­cans, in­clud­ing the pres­i­dent and for­mer pres­i­dents, should take to heart the way Bush put his love of fam­ily, countr y and po­lit­i­cal foes above him­self. He lived so oth­ers could en­joy free­dom, pros­per­ity and peace.

As he rests in peace in a bet­ter place with his wife and daugh­ter, we wish him well. We wish his fam­ily well.

A life lived for oth­ers is a life lived well, as shown by Pres­i­dent Bush. His suc­cess was our suc­cess, and we give thanks for his life.

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