Opinion: President George H.W. Bush's legacy tied not only to achievements, but to character and decency

For The Aegis

Regardless of politics, most people will acknowledge that the late President George H.W. Bush, had all the most important qualities of a human being, and as an American.

I’m not going to recount here all the accomplishments of his long life of service to our country. You probably have read it all on Facebook and in newspapers, and have seen it in the news the last few days.

What I remember most about President Bush is that he was a decent man.

Obviously, he loved his dear wife Barbara from the day they met until his last breath. Even in the height of power as leader of the free world, he would exercise decency and was a true gentleman.

I remember the victory in the first Gulf War, and how he built the large coalition of countries from around the world to push Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. It was possible, in part, because of the relationships he had built over years public service.

One of the small things President Bush was known for was making you feel special when you were in his presence, no matter your place on the social or economic scale.

Another was his note writing. He would spend hours sending handwritten personal notes to those he met. From world leaders to a 6-year-old visitor to the White House, he made a point to connect with you.

On his last day in office as the most powerful man in the world, President Bush left a note to Bill Clinton, the man who after a brutal election had defeated beat him, removing him from office.

The note ends with: “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 for you. Good luck.”

I personally don’t believe decency died with President George H.W. Bush. We all should not give up on being a decent person, should not give up on politeness and respect of each other — and also of the people we elect to lead our country, even if we don’t always agree with their policies.

Never give up!

Dwight Griffith


The author runs the Griffith Never Give Up Foundation. In 1992 he attended an appearance and speech by George H.W. Bush when the president came to Riverside/Belcamp.

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