Skip to main content

Neil Bush: What 41 wants for his birthday

By Neil Bush
updated 2:22 PM EDT, Thu June 12, 2014
Former President George H.W. Bush attends a college basketball game between North Carolina State and Duke in Durham, North Carolina, on January 18. Bush celebrated his 90th birthday on Thursday, June 12. Click through the images to see Bush's life in pictures. Former President George H.W. Bush attends a college basketball game between North Carolina State and Duke in Durham, North Carolina, on January 18. Bush celebrated his 90th birthday on Thursday, June 12. Click through the images to see Bush's life in pictures.
HIDE CAPTION
George H.W. Bush
George H.W. Bush
George H.W. Bush
George H.W. Bush
George H.W. Bush
George H.W. Bush
George H.W. Bush
George H.W. Bush
George H.W. Bush
George H.W. Bush
George H.W. Bush
George H.W. Bush
George H.W. Bush
George H.W. Bush
George H.W. Bush
George H.W. Bush
George H.W. Bush
George H.W. Bush
George H.W. Bush
George H.W. Bush
George H.W. Bush
George H.W. Bush
George H.W. Bush
George H.W. Bush
George H.W. Bush
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • His son says former President George H.W. Bush wants more than a skydive for his 90th
  • Neil Bush: Dad wants to continue to encourage people to serve the community
  • He says encouraging volunteer service was a hallmark of 41's presidency
  • Neil Bush: Volunteer as a way to honor my dad -- or yours

Editor's note: Editor's note: CNN will air "41ON41," a film about President George H.W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States, based on interviews with 41 people who know him best, at 9 and 11 p.m. ET Sunday, June 15. Neil Bush chairs the board of Points of Light, the largest organization in the world dedicated to volunteer service. He will join Chelsea Clinton to demonstrate that "Service Unites" on June 16 at the Points of Light Conference on Volunteering and Service in Atlanta. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN) -- People keep asking me what my dad might like for his 90th birthday on June 12. I think I can answer that one.

He'd like to jump out of an airplane and feel that freedom one more time.

He'd like to have his family and close friends around him for a quiet celebration.

Neil Bush
Neil Bush
Bush Sr. skydives on 90th birthday
CNN Films: '41 on 41' trailer

He'd like a good martini with a couple of olives.

But most of all, I know he'd like you, on the occasion of his birthday, to give to others. Volunteer service is Dad's true north. He made it a centerpiece of his presidency, encouraging millions of people to look within to find "your own special genius for helping others."

He gave 1,020 Daily Point of Light Awards from the White House to inspire people to volunteer and to prove that "somewhere in America, every serious social problem is being solved through voluntary service, for therein lies the greatest national resource of all."

In the years since he left the White House, Dad joined forces with former President Bill Clinton to support victims of Hurricane Katrina and the Indian Ocean tsunami -- and the volunteers who showed up afterward to help rebuild.

Opinion: What George H.W. Bush, at 90, can teach millennials

Last July, he and Mom traveled to the White House to join President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama and hundreds of others in a special ceremony to present the 5,000th Daily Point of Light Award to an Iowa couple fighting world hunger one meal at a time.

So what would he really like for his birthday? He'd like you to go to BeOne.PointsofLight.org and pledge to pitch in. As Dad said, "It doesn't matter who you are. Everybody's got something to give: a job skill, a free hour, a pair of strong arms."

I hope you'll volunteer as a way to honor my Dad -- or yours (Father's Day is Sunday). Or volunteer as a way to be good to yourself; researchers say it leads to healthier, happier lives.

Whatever your cause, whatever your motivation, I hope you'll agree with me that volunteer service is an extraordinary gift. Thanks for everything and happy birthday, Dad.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook.com/CNNOpinion.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 1:50 PM EDT, Sun September 21, 2014
John Sutter boarded a leaky oyster boat in Connecticut with a captain who can't swim as he set off to get world leaders to act on climate change
updated 7:22 PM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Is ballet dying? CNN spoke with Isabella Boylston, a principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre, about the future of the art form.
updated 5:47 PM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Sally Kohn says it's time we take climate change as seriously as we do warfare in the Middle East
updated 9:02 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Dean Obeidallah says an Oklahoma state representative's hateful remarks were rightfully condemned by religious leaders..
updated 3:22 PM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
No matter how much planning has gone into U.S. military plans to counter the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the Arab public isn't convinced that anything will change, says Geneive Abdo
updated 11:44 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
President Obama's strategy for destroying ISIS seems to depend on a volley of air strikes. That won't be enough, says Haider Mullick.
updated 9:03 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Paul Begala says Hillary Clinton has plenty of good reasons not to jump into the 2016 race now
updated 11:01 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Scotland decided to trust its 16-year-olds to vote in the biggest question in its history. Americans, in contrast, don't even trust theirs to help pick the county sheriff. Who's right?
updated 9:57 PM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Ruben Navarrette says spanking is an acceptable form of disciplining a child, as long as you follow the rules.
updated 11:47 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Frida Ghitis says the foiled Australian plot shows ISIS is working diligently to taunt the U.S. and its allies.
updated 3:58 PM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Young U.S. voters by and large just do not see the midterm elections offering legitimate choices because, in their eyes, Congress has proven to be largely ineffectual, and worse uncaring, argues John Della Volpe
updated 9:58 PM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Steven Holmes says spanking, a practice that is ingrained in our culture, accomplishes nothing positive and causes harm.
updated 2:31 PM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Sally Kohn says America tried "Cowboy Adventurism" as a foreign policy strategy; it failed. So why try it again?
updated 10:27 AM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
Van Jones says the video of John Crawford III, who was shot by a police officer in Walmart, should be released.
updated 10:48 AM EDT, Thu September 18, 2014
NASA will need to embrace new entrants and promote a lot more competition in future, argues Newt Gingrich.
updated 7:15 PM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
If U.S. wants to see real change in Iraq and Syria, it will have to empower moderate forces, says Fouad Siniora.
updated 8:34 PM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
Mark O'Mara says there are basic rules to follow when interacting with law enforcement: respect their authority.
updated 9:05 AM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
LZ Granderson says Congress has rebuked the NFL on domestic violence issue, but why not a federal judge?
updated 7:49 AM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
Mel Robbins says the only person you can legally hit in the United States is a child. That's wrong.
updated 1:23 PM EDT, Mon September 15, 2014
Eric Liu says seeing many friends fight so hard for same-sex marriage rights made him appreciate marriage.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT