Former President George H.W. Bush dies at 94

World remembers President George H. W. Bush

(RNN) – Former President George Herbert Walker Bush died Friday night at the age of 94.

Bush served as the 41st president of the United States from 1989 to 1993.

His wife of 73 years, former first lady Barbara Bush, died in April at the age of 92.

A World War II hero, Bush also served as a congressman from Texas, the director of the CIA, and vice president for Ronald Reagan.

Remembering President George H.W. Bush

He was also the only U.S. president besides John Adams to have a son who also became president – George W. Bush, who served from 2001 to 2009.

“Some see leadership as high drama and the sound of trumpets calling, and sometimes it is that,” Bush said at his inaugural address on Jan. 20, 1989. “But I see history as a book with many pages, and each day we fill a page with acts of hopefulness and meaning.”

The 41st president was a large contributor to charities, raising hundreds of millions of dollars. He was a lifetime member of the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors and served as chairman of the board from 2002 to 2003.

He and his wife served as honorary co-chairs of C-Change, a coalition of cancer organizations.

He also served from 2006 to 2008 as chairman of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia and received the Liberty Medal from that organization in September 2006.

He took an active role in the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, as well as the George Bush School of Public Service, both of which are located on the campus of Texas A&M University.

Bush teamed with former President Bill Clinton to raise funds and assist in the relief efforts following the catastrophic tsunami in Southeast Asia in 2004 and Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast states in 2005.

After Hurricane Ike caused damage to the Gulf states again in September 2008, Bush re-teamed with Clinton to aid in the reconstruction of Gulf Coast infrastructure.

In 2017 he once again joined with Clinton, along with George W. Bush and former presidents Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama, for an appearance at a concert in Texas to benefit the victims of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

George H.W. Bush and Desert Storm

Following Bush’s passing, President Donald Trump tweeted a statement, saying in part: “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 White House lowered the American flag to half-staff early Saturday morning in honor of Bush.

Trump has declared Wednesday Dec. 5 a national day of mourning for the 41st president.

President Trump’s tweet was among the many tributes to quickly pour in.

Obama also tweeted his praise for Bush, writing: “America has lost a patriot and humble servant in George Herbert Walker Bush. While our hearts are heavy today, they are also filled with gratitude.”

Bill Clinton tweeted: “I am grateful for every minute I spent with him and will always hold our friendship as one of my life’s greatest gifts.”

“President George Herbert Walker Bush, naval aviator, decorated in his youth for valor in combat, took his experience in war to build a better world as our commander in chief. His service to our nation demonstrated how we as a people can draw on our humility, diversity and devotion to our country to meet every challenge with fortitude and confidence,” said Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis in a statement.

The New York Stock Exchange announced it will close on Wednesday to honor Bush, a spokeswoman said Saturday. The Nasdaq will also close its doors that day.

Bush suffered from many health issues in recent years.

The president spent a month in Houston Methodist Hospital due to bronchitis at the end of 2012.

He was hospitalized for two weeks in January 2017 with pneumonia and spent some time in intensive care. He battled pneumonia again months later.

However, he continued to make public appearances, including the dedication of his son’s presidential library in April 2013 and tossing the coin at the 2017 Super Bowl.

On April 22, just one day after Barbara Bush’s funeral, he was hospitalized after contracting an infection. He battled through it in the ICU at Houston Methodist Hospital, and was discharged on May 4.

He was taken to a hospital in Maine on Sunday, May 27, after he experienced low blood pressure and fatigue. He remained hospitalized through Memorial Day, causing him to miss the Memorial Day parade in Kennebunkport, ME, that he traditionally attended.

He tweeted that he regretted missing the event, and that he was "forever grateful not only to those patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice for our Nation - but also the Gold Star families whose heritage is imbued with their honor and heroism."

George Herbert Walker Bush was born on June 12, 1924, in Milton, MA.

On his 18th birthday, he enlisted in the U.S. Armed Forces and became the youngest pilot to receive his wings.

He flew more than 50 combat missions during World War II until he was shot down over the island of Chichi Jima and rescued. Bush was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his bravery in action.

In 1945, Bush married Barbara Pierce and then attended Yale University, where he was captain of the baseball team and graduated in 1948 with his degree in economics.

He and his wife moved to Texas and began making their way into the oil business.

Bush’s career in politics and public service began in 1963 when he was elected chairman of the Harris County, TX, Republican Party. In 1966, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas' 7th district and served two terms.

Bush served as vice president from 1981 to 1989 under Ronald Reagan. He also held many senior-level positions, including U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Chief of the U.S. Liaison Office in China, and Director of Central Intelligence.

Bush was sworn in as president in January 1989 and served until January 1993.

Some notable occurrences during his term in office included the end of the Cold War, when the threat of nuclear war was drastically reduced. The Soviet Union ceased to exist, the Berlin Wall fell and Germany was reunified with Eastern Europe.

George H.W. Bush and the Cold War

In 1991, Bush organized an allied coalition of nearly 40 countries to oust Iraqi forces from Kuwait after Saddam Hussein had invaded the Persian Gulf nation the year before.

The Gulf War began with a 42-day bombing campaign, followed by a lightning-fast ground campaign. After less than four days, Kuwait was liberated, and a majority of Iraq’s armed forces had either been destroyed or had surrendered or retreated to Iraq.

Bush’s popularity soared in the aftermath, but it wouldn’t last, and he lost his bid for re-election to Bill Clinton.

Bush was the first sitting vice president to ascend to the presidency since 1837.

Among the laws President Bush signed into effect were the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Clean Air Act, a landmark environmental law. He also fought for and negotiated the North American Free Trade Agreement, which was later signed into a law.

George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush are survived by five children, including George W. Bush and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, 17 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

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