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George H.W. Bush and my grandpa

George H.W. Bush and my grandpa

George H.W. Bush and my grandpa
December 06
11:41 2018

Eva Reinoso Tejada

As I watch the ceremonies honoring President George H.W. Bush, I can’t help it but to think about my grandpa. When someone who has lived a long and productive life passes, it forces you to play a movie in your head of what their life was like. I remembered the days when I was a young girl and my grandpa was not so old, he was still working. Back then, he taught me how to read music and bought my first piano. I then remembered when he retired, moved back to his homeland, built his dream home and bought a shiny new car. I then remember his years in retirement, enjoying his trees and his bees. Then I remembered when his health decayed, and when he passed.

The United States has lived that same movie during this week, after the passing of George H.S. Bush. No matter what channel you turned your T.V. to, there he was. His funeral service, kind words from world leaders, documentaries about his life, etc. I wasn’t here when he was president, but I have sure heard about his legacy.

He was a young pilot, married his sweetheart, graduated from Yale University as an economist, and he served at the U.S. House of Representatives. He served as the U.N. Ambassador (the year I was born), and he was also the Director of the CIA for a while. He was the first ambassador to China the U.S. had in many years. He was vice president for two terms during the Reagan administration. He later became president. His four-year presidency was quite eventful, where the Soviet Union was dissolved, the Cold War was ended, Germany was unified, the U.S. helped remove dictator Manuel Noriega from power in Panama. His administration led the coalition that defended Kuwait from the invasion by Iraqi forces. It is said that George HW Bush’s presidency left the world a more peaceful and stable place than before. He also had five children, including one that also became president, George W. Bush.

That list already makes me think. Wow. What an accomplished man, no wonder why he is remembered with such love and respect. But it wasn’t until I read two of the letters he left behind that I had a deeper understanding of his humanity. The first letter I came across was the one he left at the oval office for his successor Bill Clinton, his rival, the man who had prevented him from serving a second term as president. It has been a long tradition for presidents to leave a note to the incoming president. Not all, however, had to write it to the man who had defeated them at an election. This is what he wrote: “There will be very tough times, made even more difficult by criticism you may not think is fair. I’m not a very good one to give advice; but just don’t let the critics discourage you or push you off course. You will be our President when you read this note. I wish you well. I wish your family well. Your success now is our country’s success. I am rooting hard for you.” Years later they became good friends and partnered up for philanthropic causes.

The second letter I came across was released by a news anchor while reporting on the Bush passing. It was written in 2009 from Bush to a friend, and it reads: “I cannot single out the one greatest challenge in my life. I have had a lot of challenges and my advice to young people might be as follows: Don’t get down when your life takes a bad turn. Out of adversity comes challenge and often success. Don’t blame others for your setbacks. When things go well, always give credit to others. Don’t talk all the time. Listen to your friends and mentors and learn from them. Don’t brag about yourself. Let others point out your virtues, your strong points. Give someone else a hand. When a friend is hurting show that friend you care. Nobody likes an overbearing big shot. As you succeed, be kind to people. Thank those who help you along the way. Don’t be afraid to shed a tear when your heart is broken because a friend is hurting. Say your prayers!! George Bush”. Now, that is the letter that got to me. It would be glad to call it “The New Ten Commandments.”

As with my grandpa, I see the movie of this man, and I like it. Some critics pointed the fact that he was born into privilege and he was not perfect. It is true. But looks like he did the best that he could with what was handed to him and, seems to me, he was kind to others, well respected and loved while doing it. Isn’t that what you would hope for?

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Edición Virtual | #332 | 14 de Febrero 2019

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