World leaders have joined U.S. leaders and citizens in mourning the death of former President George H.W. Bush who died on Friday night at the age of 94.
Bush’s death was announced in a statement by his office that said he passed in Houston yesterday.
President Donald Trump and wife Melania, Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain, Australia Prime Minister John Howard and his Canadian counterpart, Justin Trudeau, as well as French President Emmanuel Macron are among those who have expressed their grief at the passing on of the former US president.
Former President Barack Obama and wife, Michelle, as well as former President Bill Clinton and wife, Hillary, also mourned the 41st president of the U.S. who served between 1989 and 1993.
Trump and Melania, in a joint statement, praised Bush for his “sound judgment, common sense and unflappable leadership’’, adding he inspired generations of his fellow Americans to public service.
The Trumps said: “President Bush guided our nation and the world to a peaceful and victorious conclusion of the Cold War.
“As president, he set the stage for the decades of prosperity that have followed. And through all that he accomplished, he remained humble, following the quiet call to service that gave him a clear sense of direction’’.
The Obamas, in a statement, said Bush’s life was “a testament to the notion that public service is a noble, joyous calling. And he did tremendous good along the journey’’.
They also credited the former president with “expanding America’s promise to new immigrants and people with disabilities, reducing the scourge of nuclear weapons and building a broad international coalition to expel a dictator from Kuwait.
“It’s a legacy of service that may never be matched, even though he’d want all of us to try,’’ the Obamas said.
The Clintons, in a statement issued yesterday, said Bush’s extensive record of public service was rare, with his years in the military, in Congress, the United Nations, China, the Central Intelligence Agency, and as vice president and president.
Clinton, who defeated Bush in the 1992 presidential election, said he was always struck by Bush’s “innate and genuine decency’’ and by his devotion to his wife Barbara and his family.
French President Emmanuel Macron described the late Bush as a world leader who strongly supported the alliance with Europe.
On her part, UK Prime Minister Theresa May said: “Today Britain remembers a great statesman and a true friend of our country. We send our deepest condolences to the American people and to the family he leaves behind.
“President George H. W. Bush’s ethos of public service was the guiding thread of his life and an example to us all.”
The Australian Prime Minister John Howard said the late Bush was a friend of his country.
“The late President possessed an endearing sense of humour and always exhibited immense public grace. He was the patriarch of a great American family.
“At all times he was a true friend of Australia. He visited our country on a number of occasions. He was the first American president to address a joint sitting of our national parliament.”
Queen Elizabeth II also spoke in similar vein.
She said, “President Bush was a great friend and ally of the United Kingdom. He was also a patriot, serving his country with honour and distinction in office and during the Second World War.
“Prince Philip and I remember our days in Texas in 1991 with great fondness. My thoughts and prayers are with President Bush’s family and the American people.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was saddened to hear of the passing of the former American president.
“President Bush was a dedicated and thoughtful leader who stuck by his convictions and values. He did much to strengthen relations between our two countries, championing the North American Free Trade Agreement and initiatives like the fight against acid rain.
“As president, he provided steady, principled leadership through a number of decisive international events,” he said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also expressed his country’s sympathies.
“The people of Israel will always remember his commitment to Israel’s security, his important contribution to the liberation of Soviet Jewry, and his efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East at the Madrid Conference,” Netanyahu said.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in remarked that former President George H. W. Bush dedicated himself to world peace and security, and made noble endeavours to bring peace on the Korean Peninsula and strengthen the ROK-US .alliance.
“President George H. W. Bush will be long remembered in the hearts of the Korean people,” he said.
His Life and Times
Former President George Herbert Walker Bush was a World War II hero, distinguished public servant and patriarch of an American political dynasty.
After serving as a two-term vice president under President Ronald Reagan, Bush led the nation as America’s 41st president from 1989 to 1993.
During his presidential term, Bush presided over the end of the Cold War, the fall of the Berlin Wall and marshalled a diverse coalition of nations to fight Iraq after dictator Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait.
Bush famously said the Iraqi aggression “will not stand.”
Bush’s son, George W. Bush, became the nation’s 43rd president, making them only the second father and son to hold the office, along with John Adams and John Quincy Adams.
Another of Bush’s sons, Jeb, served as governor of Florida and made an unsuccessful run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.
The late Bush and his wife, Barbara, who died last April at age 92, had four other children — Dorothy, Neil, Marvin and Robin, who died from leukemia when she was just 3.
Bush was born on June 12, 1924, to a wealthy and politically active family in Milton, Mass.
The son of Connecticut Senator Prescott Bush and Dorothy (Walker) Bush, George attended the elite boarding school Phillips Academy. He graduated at 18 and that same day enlisted, becoming the youngest pilot in the Navy during World War II.
He flew a torpedo bomber and flew 58 missions in the Pacific theater. He named his Avenger plane “Barbara.”
During one bombing run in 1944, Bush’s plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire. Despite his plane’s engine being in flames, Bush managed to release his bombs over the target. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his service in World War II.
Shortly after returning from war, Bush tied the knot with Barbara Pierce on Jan. 6, 1945.
He enrolled at Yale University, where he was the baseball team captain. The slick-fielding first baseman led Yale to runner-up finishes in the first two College World Series, in 1947 and 1948.
After graduation, he and Barbara headed to west Texas to make his fortune and raise their family.
He started the Bush-Overbey Oil Development company in 1951 and co-founded the Zapata Petroleum Corporation in 1953. He became a millionaire by the time he turned 40.
Following his success in the oil business, Bush turned his sights to politics and won a congressional seat in 1967, becoming the first Republican to represent the district around Houston.
President Gerald Ford appointed him envoy to China — a crucial post in the fall of 1974, since President Richard Nixon had only re-established communications with the Communist nation in 1972.
The diplomat returned to the states to be Ford’s CIA director starting in January 1976. Bush held that spot for a year, before newly elected President Jimmy Carter turned down his offer to stay.
Bush then returned to his businesses in Houston until in 1979, he ran for president and lost in the primaries to Ronald Reagan, the former actor turned California governor.
Reagan made him his running mate they defeated incumbent Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale, winning 44 states and 489 electoral votes.
In October 1988, Bush beat Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, the Democratic nominee, winning 40 states and 53 percent of the vote to become president.
At his inauguration in January 1989, Bush kicked off his administration with a call for a “kindler, gentler nation.”
During Bush’s first year in office, the Chinese government brutally suppressed protesters in Tiananmen Square and the Berlin Wall fell. He also witnessed German unification, and struggled with a rapidly changing Soviet Union and the new reforms urged by President Mikhail Gorbachev.
He was roundly criticized for not being more celebratory when the Berlin Wall — the icon of the Cold War — was breached.
Bush responded in his usual self-control, saying “I am elated. I’m not a very emotional kind of guy.”
But his administration was also marked by marked intensity.
Responding to the murder of a US Navy seaman by the Panamanian Defense Force, Bush sent the military into Panama and captured its strongman Manuel Noriega.
When Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s military forces pushed into Kuwait in 1990 and threatened Saudi Arabia and other Middle East countries in a power grab over oil fields, Bush vowed to force Hussein to retreat and amassed a coalition of counties to help him in Operation Desert Storm.
“This will not stand. This will not stand, this aggression against Kuwait,” Bush proclaimed.
His post-war high ratings soon went down after the American economy plunged. In 1992, Bush ran for re-election and lost to his smooth talking Democratic challenger, Bill Clinton.
However, his son, George W. Bush, succeeded Clinton as 43rd US president.
Despite recent health problems, Bush was one of the most active ex-presidents, regularly attending Houston Astros baseball games and cultural events around Space City.
Since leaving office, Bush was heavily involved in charities, often teaming with former President Clinton.
In 2014, the former Navy lieutenant famously celebrated his 90th birthday with a parachute jump. He jumped out of planes to celebrate his 75th, 80th and 85th birthdays as well.
“Just because you’re an old guy, you don’t have to sit around drooling in the corner,” Bush said after the 85th-birthday dive. “Get out and do something. Get out and enjoy life.”