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George Herbert Walker Bush left The White House in 1993, but continued to make his mark on the county for the past quarter century.
“I’ve spoken of a thousand points of light, of all the community organizations that are spread, like stars, throughout the nation doing good,” President Bush said.
It was a message and theme that repeated itself in his run to The White House, inaugural speech and well after he left office.
President Bush’s call for “duty, sacrifice, commitment and a patriotism that finds its expression in taking part and pitching in” did find occasional mockery during his administration, but remains an active charity today, recognizing people doing good deeds in their communities.
As the country’s oldest living president until his passing, George Herbert Walker Bush remained as active as was physically possible through the years following The White House. Most notable, his now-famous parachute jumps to mark his milestone birthdays, right through a tandem leap from a helicopter when he turned 90. Each of them proving he had no intention of slowing down
“You gotta do things that are fun. And beside that it sets an example. You don’t have to sit around drooling because you’re 83,” President Bush said.
He was also a passionate advocate for those in need, famously partnering with the man who derailed his second term. Presidents Bush and Clinton joined their formidable forces to raise tens of millions of dollars to help victims of the 2004 Indonesian tsunami and then Hurricane Katrina. While rivals in politics, they became dear friends in retirement.
While President Bush maintained an “above the fray” position in most presidential politics, after the White House, his voice was a coveted addition to the campaigns of would-be successors. Certainly, his son George W. Bush was the beneficiary. But while their own campaigns did not succeed, both John McCain and Mitt Romney also sought and received a Bush endorsement.
As much as he was man of the world, he was also a cheerleader, literally, for Houston and Texas, frequently seen when he was able to root for his beloved Astros and Texans.
President George H.W. Bush’s life was lived fully. Like his thousand points of light, it was full of duty, sacrifice and commitment.