Eighty-eight year old former President George H. W. Bush was moved from the intensive care unit of Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas today, Bush, the oldest surviving former United States president, has been hospitalized since November 23, when he was admitted for a lingering cough related to bronchitis. On December 23, Bush was moved to intensive care due to a rising fever of undetermined cause.
Bush, our 41st president, served from 1989 to 1993. He brought a dedication to traditional American values and a determination to direct them toward making the United States a kinder and gentler nation. In his Inaugural Address he pledged to use American strength as a force for good.
Following his family’s tradition of public service, Bush joined the Navy on his 18th birthday. When he received his wings, he was the youngest pilot in the Navy. He flew 58 combat missions during World War II. On one mission over the Pacific as a torpedo bomber, Bush was shot down by Japanese antiaircraft fire. He was rescued from the water by the crew of a U.S. submarine. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for bravery in action.
Upon his return from the war, Bush married Barbara Pierce in January 1945. Together they had six children, one of which died as a child. George graduated in 1948 from Yale University with honors and a degree in economics. While at Yale, he was captain of the baseball team. After graduation, Bush began working in the oil industry in Texas, carving out a lucrative career for himself.
Later, Bush became involved in the Republican party. In 1967, he won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations in 1971; served as the chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1973-1974; was the Chief Liaison to China under President Gerald Ford; and was Director of the CIA from 1976-1977. From 1981-1989, Bush served as Vice-President under President Ronald Reagan.
Bush won the Republican nomination to run for president in 1988. He beat Democratic opponent Michael Dukakis with 54% of the popular vote and took 426 out of the 537 electoral votes.
Bush retired from public service after losing the 1992 election to Bill Clinton. Ironically, he has joined Bill Clinton in numerous charitable drives since Clinton’s retirement from the presidency to include raising money for victims of the tsunami that hit Thailand in 2004 and for the victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
President Barack Obama awarded George H. W. Bush the 2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’ highest civilian honor, for his commitment to service and ability to inspire volunteerism throughout the country, encouraging citizens to be a thousand points of light.
Godspeed to you, Mr. Bush. We wish you well.