Mr. Bush was a great man

The Washington Post Sunday - - SUNDAY OPINION -

What most im­pressed me about for­mer pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush was his com­mit­ment to pub­lic ser­vice, a char­ac­ter­is­tic lack­ing in many politi­cians to­day. As most peo­ple know, af­ter his distin­guished mil­i­tary ser­vice he held many gov­ern­ment po­si­tions.

I worked full-time for him in late 1979 and part of 1980. It was a mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ence. On the week­end be­fore the 1980 elec­tion, he and Bar­bara Bush and I had a long ride from an event in West Ch­ester, Pa., to Philadel­phia In­ter­na­tional Air­port. He un­der­stood that he was on the verge of be­ing elected vice pres­i­dent, and he was emo­tional. He talked about pub­lic ser­vice and how much his fa­ther, Prescott, had in­flu­enced him.

Mr. Bush was a friendly and gra­cious per­son. He was al­ways writ­ing notes to peo­ple thank­ing them for some courtesy. He also was a pres­i­dent who un­der­stood the in­tri­ca­cies of for­eign pol­icy. And he re­spected the dig­nity of the of­fice of pres­i­dent.

When I wrote my re­cent book, “Din­ner in Camelot: The Night Amer­ica’s Great­est Sci­en­tists, Writ­ers and Schol­ars Par­tied at the Kennedy White House,” I was ob­vi­ously think­ing about Pres­i­dent John F. Kennedy — whom I met as a boy and who in­spired me — as well as Mr. Bush and their com­mit­ment to pub­lic ser­vice.

Joseph A. Es­pos­ito, Spring­field


For­mer pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush in 2008.

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