U.S. House of Representatives
At the funeral tribute for his late wife, Barbara, who died last April, former President George H.W. Bush sat pensively in his wheelchair near her casket, patiently greeting those who had come to mourn the woman whom he had married 73 years earlier. It seemed improbable that they were no longer together. That he was now without her.
He had once told an interviewer that if his wife passed before he did, she would be the first person that he wanted to see when he arrived in heaven. On last Friday evening, the former Republican president, who voted in the 2016 presidential election for a Democrat, received his wish when his beloved Barbara asked an angel to play a harp, calling her husband home to her side.
As the 41st supreme commander of our country, Bush worked with legislators in both the Democratic and Republican parties. He made decisions that he believed were in the best interests of the country, even if they cost him an election, as raising taxes to balance the budget did in the 1992 presidential contest when he was defeated by President Bill Clinton. The two later became close friends and worked together on projects for the benefit of their fellow citizens.
The privileged son of a United States senator, Bush, who was born in Massachusetts and raised on the East Coast, rightly decided to make Texas the place where he would raise his family and pursue his destiny.
He entered politics, running for office, serving his party. Though unsuccessful as a candidate a number of times in the beginning of his political life, he was not deterred. He continued on, and persevered, becoming vice president, and then assuming the highest elected office in our land. It was not in him to quit!
President Bush will be remembered in history for a plethora of accomplishments, among them being one of only two presidents to witness his son become the nation’s commander-in-chief when his eldest son, George W. Bush, became president in 2000. The elder Bush wept at the inauguration.
And now, just six years short of living a full century, Bush has departed. Yet, the memories of what he stood for, and of what he accomplished, shall remain with us, and shall guide us as we continue to enhance our democracy.
U.S. Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson is the ranking member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology and the highest-ranking Texan on the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure. She represents the 30th Congressional District of Texas.