The passing of a President of the United States is a demarcation point in the life of this nation. This morning, I would like to mark the passage of President George H.W. Bush.
I did not vote for him in 1988. Nor did I vote for him in 1992. But in 1990 President Bush was Commander-in-Chief of American armed forces when I was a Captain in the US Army. In other words he was my Commander-in-Chief.
It was on his orders that I, along with thousands of other Americans, was deployed to the Middle East for Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. It was great when he came to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to visit the troops at Thanksgiving.
I will always remember when the ceasefire order came ending hostilities in that conflict. And I will simply say that I was very relieved not to make the trip to Baghdad. At that time I had seen all of Iraq that I wanted to see.
Many years later I published a book about that experience in my life. In the wake of that publication I received a personal note from President Bush thanking me for a copy and commending me for my service to this country. That note meant a great deal to me. A copy of it is on the home page of my book’s website.
As I entered my political campaign for the seat that I now hold certain people advised me that I needed to remove that letter. The rationale was that certainly my opponents would seize upon that, trying to use it against me in an attempt to turn into something that I am not. I said no to that advice.
True to form, my opponents did exactly what we thought they would try to do. Fortunately, the citizens of District 4 did not fall for that nonsense. People of good will can recognize that at some level partisan differences can be overcome.
Now, as we mark the passing of a man who dedicated his life to public service, I am even happier that I resisted the calls to remove his personal note to me from my website. It is something that I cherish.
Navy fighter pilot. United States Congressman. Ambassador to the United Nations. Envoy to China. Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Vice President. Devoted family man.
May George H.W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States rest in peace.