Skip to main content

Remembering George H.W. Bush since the Journey of my First Vote: Thoughts on Family, Friendship, Loyalty, Service, and Community.




I have done a great deal of contemplating since George H.W. Bush passed on to another world this past week. When he ran for President in 1988 it was the first election I had the privilege to vote in, having just turned eighteen a few months earlier.  My Grandfather had been in elected office for my entire life so walking in parades, wearing buttons, and placing political yard signs was second nature. That fall I had just gone off to college at Eastern Illinois University and was experiencing all the transition that come from being away from home for the first time.

It was announced that the Bush/Quayle ticket would be making a campaign stop in Charleston. I remember skipping class to attend. There is nothing quite like seeing the political process up close and personal. I cast my first ever Presidential vote for candidate George Herbert Walker Bush. I felt like I was a real grown up by performing my civic duty for the first time. Time has flown by since then and so have many elections, including seven for President of the United States. Election Day is still like a holiday for me. The world has changed, for the better in some ways and worse in other ways, but that day never gets old for me and I hope it never does. That was thirty years ago.

So when George H.W. Bush died Friday it ended an era for me personally. His presidency really marked the beginning of my adult life. I can to this day recall when he announced that we going into war in the Gulf. I was twenty one and was unsure if I was going to be drafted, while sitting with my floor on the first floor of Douglas Hall, taking it all in. I will never forget it.

Since that Election Day when George H. W. Bush was chosen the 41st President of the United States I have had quite a ride personally. A great job working with people I love. A community that I am proud to call home. Two college degrees, three dogs, and a marriage. Not to mention numerous travels and experiences I could never have ever imagined. I have owned a cool car and live in a house that I don’t deserve. I have more loyal friends than should be legal and a family that has always loved and supported me in any endeavor. I have truly had a George Bailey type of life and it can be marked through this American Hero and his journey from the White House--- until this past Friday  

I understand not everyone voted for or even agreed with everything, or anything about George Bush, but taking politics out of it,  I feel like there has been a little healing (even if for a brief period of time) to watch a much divided country honor a man that many consider a patriot. I have not grown tired of listening about the importance of friendship and loyalty (traits I very much value) in life. I love hearing about his family and his seventy plus year marriage to Barbara. I am glad he will be reunited with her and his daughter Robin, who was taken too soon by leukemia. I have loved the poetry of his service dog Sully watching dutifully by his casket, knowing that he was the President who signed the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Waiting a fitting exclamation mark. I enjoyed watching him reach across the aisle to the man that ended his political career and befriend him to do great things in acts of charity post presidency.  I have no words for watching his old political rival Bob Dole be lifted from a wheel chair to give him one last salute. Those men truly were from the greatest generation (how we will miss them when they are all gone).

I loved his energy and zest for life. His role modeling of humility is a lesson for all of us. Did he get things wrong? You bet he did. Did he have flaws? Probably just as many as the rest of us. He also did a ton of good things in a very tough old world. His passing reminds all of us to take inventory and contemplate the importance of service, community, family, friendship, loyalty, and country. I know I have certainly been deep in thought on those topics this week.

So I will double down and try to make my community and university a little better place for those in it. I will try to visit my brother and sisters more, and tell friends that I love them when I have the opportunity. I am going to attempt to write more hand written notes letting those I care for know how much I appreciate them. I am going to try and live life so that when it is my time to go I will know that I left it all out there on the field and that it was a “Parting well made”.

Thank you for your service, humility, and caring. You are a true role model. God bless you and rest easy President Bush.


Comments

  1. With McCain, Barbara Bush, and George H.W. Bush, we have lost a lot of remarkable history in a very short time. Honor, faith, family, and country about all. Alas, I wish often for a return to those time of civility, when we could differ without hatred. Perhaps the loss of these few and the memories brought to life in their passing will help us return to such a time. CAVU - ceiling and visibility unlimited

    ReplyDelete
  2. This article provided me with a wealth of information. The article is incredibly helpful and offers some of the most useful information. Thank you for sharing it with us. custom plastic signs in brantford

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

JB's Fifth Annual Festivus "Airing of the Grievances"

  It is that time of year again. Welcome back to the Fifth Annual Airing of the Grievances. Frank Constanza’s gift that keeps on giving back to all of us during the Holiday Season. If you are new to this blog and are sensitive I encourage you to back out now and keep on scrolling, because if I haven’t offended almost everyone by the end then I probably didn’t do a very good job. If you are back for another year then Buckle up—its been a long year. As you know the purpose of the “Airing of the Grievances” is to let everyone know how they have disappointed me in the last year. If I was being true to that edict this would probably be a novel and not a blog. We will stick with the abbreviated version in the interest of time. There is nothing like a bunch of pissed of people gathering together for the Holidays. As always, I will try to have three or four “Primary” Grievances and maybe throw in a few annoyances and some bonus thoughts at the end. I always try hard to stay away (at least di

Uncle JB’s Alternative School for Shelter in Place

Recently, like many Americans, the great people of the State of Illinois were put under a “Shelter in Place” order. It has been quite a transition for almost everyone (well not everyone—there are some introverts that are praising Jesus for this, as they have trained their whole life for this point in time). It has been my observation that there are two categories of Shelter in Place. House’s with no kids (like mine) and house’s full of kids. It has been quite the treat for me to scroll social media and watch how many of my friends, as well as complete strangers, have overnight gone from their day job to doing double and triple duty as “Teacher” and sometimes “Ringmaster” of their own domestic Three Ring Circus (while I am taking my dog to day care each week). I can’t seem to turn my head away from the “train wreck” of the crazy stories pouring out from disheveled parents all over the country, as households scramble to adjust (and who now have religion about how good our public-

Returning Home 25 Yeas Later: A Lavender Graduation Commencement Speech

E ditors note: The following is a speech recently delivered at Eastern Illinois University or  Lavender Graduation  by my dear friend Danny Mueller, who was a Resident Assistant at the same time as I was at EIU in the early nineties. He was an excellent RA then and has gone on to become a fantastic educator, winning Teacher of the Year at the elementary school where he teaches at in St.Louis. Danny gave me permission to post his speech on this blog so others could share in his message. I am proud to do so. Good Evening Everyone I would first like to begin by thanking Brad Green for having the confidence in my speaking abilities to ask me to speak to you this year and also to Jody Stone for finding me a place to stay on campus this evening when there wasn’t a hotel room for miles around.  I would also like to thank Benjamin Wilburn, who through many Facebook conversations, helped me decide what to wear.  When dealing with someone like me, it really does take a village. Be