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Culture / Newsy

George H.W. Bush Dies Just Seven Months After Passing of His Beloved Barbara

One of the Great American Love Stories Ever — and a War Hero Who Won’t Be Forgotten

BY // 12.01.18

George H.W. Bush died Saturday in Houston just seven months after the passing of his beloved wife of 73 years, Barbara Bush. Bush was 94 years old — and his death was first revealed in a statement from his son, former president George W. Bush.

“George H.W. Bush was a man of the highest character and the best dad a son or daughter could ask for,” W.’s statement reads. “The entire Bush family is deeply grateful for 41’s life and love, for the compassion of those who have cared and prayed for Dad, and for the condolences of our friends and fellow citizens.”

George H.W. Bush was the 41st president of the United States of course, but this Navy war hero almost transcended politics. It doesn’t matter if you’re Republican or Democrat, it’s hard not to admire much of Bush’s life.

It was a life steeped in dignity and one of the great love stories of all time— his union with Barbara Bush, who he married on January 6, 1945. George H.W. and Barbara Bush hold the record for being the longest married presidential couple in history.

If you don’t think that meant more to George H.W. Bush than even the collapse of the Soviet Union during his presidency, you don’t know the man. George H.W. and Barbara Bush were regulars around Houston in their later years, going out to restaurants, attending numerous sporting events, including a host of Houston Astros games. One of their last real public appearances together came at Houston’s 2017 Super Bowl.

Long before then, at only 18 years old, George H.W. Bush became the youngest naval pilot after Pearl Harbor. In a September 1944 mission, his plane was shot down and flames engulfed the cockpit. Bush and his crew had to eject. George H.W. Bush was the only one of the three men in the plane who was ever found.

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He was rescued by a U.S. submarine after paddling away from Japanese boats sent to capture him.

“It was just part of my duty,” George H.W. Bush said in a CNN interview in 2003. “People say, ‘War hero.’ How come a guy who gets his airplane shot down is a hero and a guy who’s good enough that he doesn’t get shot down is not?”

Of course, George H.W. Bush dismissed his own heroism. That’s just the kind of guy he was. This is a president who never seemed to make a big deal about himself.

But he always made a big deal about Barbara. They really don’t make guys like George H.W. Bush anymore. The world was lucky to get one.

Home, chic home.

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