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Remembering George H.W. Bush

A look back at George H.W. Bush's legacy
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What we're covering here

  • George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States, has died. He was 94 years old.
  • His wife, Barbara, died in April.
15 Posts

Bob Dole on H.W. Bush's death: It's the end of an era

Former Sen. Bob Dole reflected on his decades-old friendship with the late former President, saying that his passing was an end of an era, as President George H.W. Bush was the last World War II veteran president.

“I believe there are certain qualities that veterans have and when Bush was president, I think about three-fourths of Congress were veterans and we would stick together and work together across the aisle. And President Bush was a bipartisan president. So we got quite a lot done,” Dole sold CNN’s Ana Cabrera on Saturday nightaid on CNN.

Trump says Air Force One will transport Bush's body to Washington, DC

President Donald Trump said Air Force One – the same modified 747 he is using in Buenos Aires to attend the G20 summit – will fly to Houston, to pick up the casket carrying the body of former President George H.W. Bush and transport him to Washington.

Trump called it a “special tribute that he deserves.”

“It’s my honor,” Trump said. 

Bush to be memorialized in DC and Houston

Here’s what we know about the funeral arrangements for the 41st president.

Bush will first will have an arrival ceremony at Joint Base Andrews on Monday at 3:30 p.m. ET, followed by another arrival ceremony at 4:45 p.m., ET, at the US Capitol, where he will then lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda until Wednesday morning. Members of the public can pay their respects beginning at 7:30 p.m., ET, on Monday evening, until 8:45 a.m., ET, on Wednesday, Dec. 5.

Stock markets will also be closed Wednesday to honor the late President.

Bush will then be transported to the National Cathedral in northwest Washington, DC, where a memorial service will begin at 11 a.m., ET. The image you see above is the invitation to the memorial service.

Following the service, Bush will be transported to Houston, where a second memorial service is scheduled to take place on Thursday.

He will lie in repose at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church from 7:45 p.m., ET, Wednesday, until 7 a.m., ET, on Thursday. The second funeral service will begin at 11 a.m., ET.

Following that service, he will be taken via motorcade to the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, where he will be laid to rest alongside his wife, Barbara, who passed away earlier this year, and their daughter, Robin, who died from leukemia as a child.

These were George H.W. Bush's last words

In his last hours, George H.W. Bush talked to his son, former President George W. Bush, on the phone.

The son told Bush Sr. that he had been a “wonderful father,” a source familiar with his last moments told CNN’s Jamie Gangel.

Bush 41 replied,

The New York Times first reported the conversation.

Bush Sr. was also asked yesterday whether he wanted to go to the hospital, a source said.

He said no, the source said. He was ready to go and be with his wife Barbara and his daughter Robin, who died of leukemia as a child.

Bush to lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda

The 41st President of the United States will return to the US Capitol one more time.

George H.W. Bush will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda next week, an honor reserved for fewer than a few dozen people over nearly 200 years.

A bipartisan group of congressional leaders made the announcement Saturday afternoon that Bush would arrive at the Capitol at 5 p.m. ET on Monday, Dec. 3. The public will be allowed to pay their respects beginning that day at 7:30 p.m. ET until 7 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Dec. 5.

CNN’s Lauren Fox wrote about the tradition earlier this year after the passing of Arizona Sen. John McCain.

Queen Elizabeth calls Bush a 'great friend and ally' of the UK

Queen Elizabeth II paid tribute to former President George H. W. Bush in a statement mentioning his military service during World War II and his alliance with the United Kingdom.

“It was with sadness that I learned of the death of President George H W Bush last night. President Bush was a great friend and ally of the United Kingdom. He was also a patriot, serving his country with honour and distinction in Office and during the Second World War. Prince Philip and I remember our days in Texas in 1991 with great fondness. My thoughts and prayers are with President Bush’s family and the American people.”

Secret Service: 'Timberwolf' will be sorely missed

The Secret Service offered their condolences in a tweet on Saturday, and included President George H.W. Bush’s Secret Service code name: Timberwolf.

For 38 years, the U.S. Secret Service protected George H.W. Bush. Following his death late Friday, the agency charged with keeping him safe offered their condolences and shared a video compiled of photos of the 41st president’s life, as well as a clip of Bush giving his inaugural address on Jan. 20, 1999.

'In a different world': Historian shares photo of Bush, Reagan and Gorbachev in New York

Presidential historian Michael Beschloss shared a photo on Twitter showing former President Ronald Reagan, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, and then-President elect and Vice President George H.W. Bush together in 1988.

The photo was from a meeting the three held on Governors Island, New York, on December 7, 1988.

What’s also striking about the photograph is the landmark Twin Towers that made up the World Trade Center can be seen in the backdrop.

Trump spoke to Bush family to express his deepest sympathies

President Donald Trump said he expressed his deepest sympathies to the Bush family, including former President George W. Bush, on Saturday after the death of former President George H.W. Bush.

“He was a very fine man,” Trump said of Bush 41 as he was meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the G20 summit in Argentina. “I met him on numerous occasions.”

Trump’s comments were prompted by reporters asking him to weigh in on the former president’s death.

“He truly loved his family,” Trump said. “He’ll be missed. He led a full life and a very exemplary life.”

Trump has had a tense relationship with the Bushes heightened from the 2016 presidential campaign in which personal attacks were lobbed at Bush’s sons, Trump’s Republican primary rival Jeb and former president George W.

Asked whether he regretted some of the criticism he’s lobbed at the elder Bush in the past, Trump offered only a clipped: “Thank you.”

Merkel recalled Bush as a “father of German reunification.”Earlier Saturday, Trump had paid tribute to the former president in a statement with first lady Melania Trump.

“Through his essential authenticity, disarming wit, and unwavering commitment to faith, family, and country, President Bush inspired generations of his fellow Americans to public service — to be, in his words, “a thousand points of light” illuminating the greatness, hope, and opportunity of America to the world,” the Trumps said.

George H.W. Bush believed politics didn't ever need to be 'nasty'

Former President George H.W. Bush believed that politics doesn’t ever need to be “nasty,” according to Former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell.

Powell told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that Bush “lived” by his quote about his unlikely friendship with Bill Clinton.

“I wish we could get some of that back in our system now,” Powell said.

Powell served for four years as Bush’s chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during his presidency. “He was a great president, and he was a perfect American,” Powell said.

Powell told CNN about his interactions with Bush during the Gulf War and the end of the Cold War.

“He cared about every single soldier, sailor, airman and Marine we sent over there,” he said.

Powell said Bush, who served in World War II, would listen closely to him and his advisers before making a decision about any actions that could result in American casualties.

“I think he was a great commander in chief,” Powell said. “And his military experience, of course, had a lot to do with that as well. He knew what combat was all about. He knew that this was not a game. It was a war, and we had to do it well, we had to do it right.”

Powell also spoke about a moment he said he’ll never forget, soon after Bush lost his bid for presidency to Bill Clinton in 1992.

After Powell and his family were invited to Camp David after the election, he and Bush took a walk where the former president confessed to Powell that it “hurt” to be defeated. “He hated losing,” Powell said.

But Powell reiterated that Bush never wavered in his commitment to his country.

“The service he gave to America will not be matched any time soon. And the experience he brought to the office will never be matched any time soon,” Powell said.

“America mourns for an American who gave it his very, very all.”

The code word used to share news of 41's death

When family and friends were notified of former President George H.W. Bush’s death late Friday evening, the code word “CAVU” was used, an acronym familiar to pilots that he lived his life by.

CNN special correspondent Jamie Gangel revealed this word on “CNN Tonight with Don Lemon” early Saturday, explaining that it stands for “ceiling and visibility unlimited.”

Gangel said Bush had a plaque in his office with the word. “He always felt it represented his life,” said Gangel. “The sky was the limit, and he had everything.”

Watch below: The code word used to share news of 41’s death

In a 2006 interview with CNN’s Larry King on “Larry King Live,” the late President Bush read part of a letter he wrote his five children before the start of the Gulf War, in which he discusses the phrase.

“CAVU was the kind of weather we navy pilots wanted when we were to fly off our carrier in the Pacific. We had little navigational instrumentation so we wanted to CAVU, ceiling and visibility unlimited,” said Bush, “and because of the five of you whose hugs I can still feel, whose own lives made me so proud, I can confidently tell my guardian angel that my life is CAVU and it will be that way until I die. All because of you.”

The last time we saw President Bush in public

One of the last public outings former President George H. W. Bush made was to cast an early vote in the 2018 midterm elections.

Bush was pictured voting at a Houston polling station with a little help from his friends – James Baker, his former secretary of state and chief of staff, and Sully, his yellow Labrador service dog. 

“The 41st President accompanied by his two best friends – Jim Baker and Sully – discharging his civic duty and voting today,” Bush’s spokesman Jim McGrath wrote on Twitter on November 1st.

White House says Trump will attend George H.W. Bush's funeral in DC

Press secretary Sarah Sanders says President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump will attend the funeral in Washington, DC.

The President and First Lady were notified late last night of President George H.W. Bush’s passing. President Trump is scheduled to speak with President George W. Bush this morning and offer his condolences on behalf of himself, the First Lady, and the entire country. A state funeral is being arranged with all of the accompanying support and honors. The President will designate Wednesday, December 5th as a National Day Of Mourning. He and the First Lady will attend the funeral at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.”

George H.W. Bush dies at 94

The 41st President of the United States and patriarch of a political dynasty, George H.W. Bush died on Friday in Houston. He was 94 years old. Friends, world leaders and fellow politicians are now paying tribute to the man remembered as a World War II combat pilot, a Cold War politician, and a compassionate family man.