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 3:50 PM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Julian Zelizer says it's not crazy to think Mitt Romney would be able to end up at the top of the GOP ticket in 2016.
updated 4:52 PM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Roxanne Jones and her girlfriends would cheer from the sidelines for the boys playing Little League. But they really wanted to play. Now Mo'ne Davis shows the world that girls really can throw.
updated 12:29 PM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Peter Bergen and Emily Schneider say a YouTube video apparently posted by ISIS seems to show that the group has a surveillance drone, highlighting a new reality: Terrorist groups have technology once only used by states
updated 5:04 PM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Kimberly Norwood is a black mom who lives in an affluent neighborhood not far from Ferguson, but she has the same fears for her children as people in that troubled town do
updated 5:45 PM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
It apparently has worked for France, say Peter Bergen and Emily Schneider, but carries uncomfortable risks. When it comes to kidnappings, nations face grim options.
updated 1:27 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
John Bare says the Ice Bucket Challenge signals a new kind of activism and peer-to-peer fund-raising.
updated 8:31 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
James Dawes says calling ISIS evil over and over again could very well make it harder to stop them.
updated 9:05 PM EDT, Sat August 23, 2014
As the inquiry into the shooting of Michael Brown continues, critics question the prosecutor's impartiality.
updated 6:47 PM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
Newt Gingrich says it's troubling that a vicious group like ISIS can recruit so many young men from Britain.
updated 10:50 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
David Weinberger says Twitter and other social networks have been vested with a responsibility, and a trust, they did not ask for.
updated 7:03 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
John Inazu says the slogan "We are Ferguson" is meant to express empathy and solidarity. It's not true: Not all of us live in those circumstances. But we all made them.
updated 8:23 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
Retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling says he learned that the territory ISIS wants to control is amazingly complex.
updated 3:51 PM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
Cerue Garlo says Liberia is desperate for help amid a Ebola outbreak that has touched every aspect of life.
updated 1:42 PM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
Eric Liu says Republicans who want to restrict voting may win now, but the party will suffer in the long term.
updated 11:38 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
Jay Parini: Jesus, Pope and now researchers agree: Wealth decreases our ability to sympathize with the poor.
updated 8:00 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
Judy Melinek offers a medical examiner's perspective on what happens when police kill people like Michael Brown.
updated 6:03 PM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
It used to be billy clubs, fire hoses and snarling German shepherds. Now it's armored personnel carriers and flash-bang grenades, writes Kara Dansky.
updated 1:27 PM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
Maria Haberfeld: People who are unfamiliar with police work can reasonably ask, why was an unarmed man shot so many times, and why was deadly force used at all?
updated 5:52 PM EDT, Mon August 18, 2014
Ruben Navarrette notes that this fall, minority students will outnumber white students at America's public schools.
updated 5:21 PM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
Humans have driven to extinction four marine mammal species in modern times. As you read this, we are on the brink of losing the fifth, write three experts.
updated 4:06 PM EDT, Mon August 18, 2014
Pepper Schwartz asks why young women are so entranced with Kardashian, who's putting together a 352-page book of selfies
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT