This week, I went down to the Senate floor to pay my respects to a great statesman, president, husband, and father.
President George H.W. Bush had the best qualities of his generation, the Greatest Generation. He stood up straight, took responsibility, shared the credit, and took the blame.
When the Soviet Union collapsed during his presidency, he exemplified the best of American diplomacy and helped steer Eastern Europe toward democracy. From World War II naval pilot to president of the United States, George H.W. Bush's example and service made a world changing difference.
You can watch the full remarks here and read the excerpts below:
“Another part of his upbringing was sort of the upbringing of in many ways the best values of that World War II generation. Stand up straight, take responsibility, share credit, take blame. Those were all part of who George Herbert Walker Bush had become. That idea that you should do what you're supposed to do; that idea of the importance of service to others. …
“And then, Mr. President, the collapse of the Soviet Union. We have just enough time now to look back and I've heard many others in the last few days talk about how that could have gone so badly wrong for all of the other countries that were trying to emerge from the domination of Russia and the Soviet Union. But George Herbert Walker Bush on the phone, reaching out, talking to leaders, seeing the things that had just been predicted by the West Germans themselves to be impossible, that somehow East Germany could become part of West Germany is exactly what happened. The President encouraged, stood beside, went out of the way to be sure that Helmut Kohl, the leader of West Germany, had the kind of support that he and his government needed to reach out and bring this country that had been isolated for 40 years, this part of the country back into the country, that all of these East European countries that were emerging from Soviet domination had a chance to move from domination to democracy. That would not have happened the way it happened if somebody less prepared and less capable had been there.”