Greatness does not come along very often in our country, and in the world. The passing of former president George H. W. Bush is the death of greatness. He was born into privilege and could have had a very different life. But history called, and he answered.
He enlisted in the Navy at 18, was shot down over the Pacific as a baby-faced 20-year old, and was rescued by an American submarine. He came home to marry his wife Barbara, and to begin a life they built for themselves, their children and their country. We are all better off for it.
He lived and breathed public service. As president he helped guide the West out of the Cold War; he kicked the Iraqi army out of Kuwait. He said he wanted a specific mission; when that mission was over, he brought the troops home.
President H. W. Bush was a decent and honorable man. There was no meanness in him, no smallness. He worked with anyone and everyone to get the job done for the American people. He was the last of the World War II generation to serve in the White House.
His death at 94 is a passing of a great man, but also a passing of a unique kind of American. He put others first, he put his country first. He became fast friends with President Bill Clinton, who defeated him for a second term. There was no name calling or sinking into the muck. He believed in something far, far bigger than himself.
We are better off for his life, and for his service to this country.
Photo Credit: Joseph Lozada, U.S. Department of Defense/Wikimedia