GEORGE HW Bush, the 41st president of the USA, died last week at the age of 94 after a battle with Parkinson’s disease that saw him wheelchair-bound for his last few years.
He served as Vice President under Ronald Reagan and became the first man in over 150 years to move straight from VP to the top job. He will probably be most remembered for his role as Commander in Chief during the first Gulf War which was viewed as a victory against Iraq but regarded by many as the trigger point for much of the world’s recent terrorist problems. He also successfully guided the US and the west through the end of the Cold War, something Mikhail Gorbachev praised him for this week noting his “attention, amiability and ease with communication.
Mr Bush came from a wealthy political dynasty but unlike the current president went out of his way to serve his country. He served in the air force during World War II as a bomber pilot and was shot down by Japanese forces in the Pacific in 1944, an attack which killed three of his crewmates. Upon becoming President in 1989 after two terms as Ronald Reagan’s understudy it seemed that his role would be to continue flying the flag for Reaganism for eight years. However, he was swept away at the ballot box by young Democrat Bill Clinton in 1983, an ignominious end to his political career. His son George would, of course, go on to serve as the 43rd president after Mr Clinton, with Clinton and Bush Snr becoming firm friends later in life. During the last election, Bush famously said he had voted for Hilary Clinton rather than Republican candidate Trump.
Mr Bush was married to Barbara for 73 years and who died in March this year with friends and family saying that his health declined quickly after his wife’s death. He was buried at a state funeral on Wednesday with full military honours and attended by leaders from the world over.