Listening to a recent story about Queen Elizabeth’s long reign didn’t make me pine for a monarchy, but I do love the pomp of major events that a royal tradition brings. I like the ceremony of it all, the announcing of guests and seeing the beautiful outfits. I have even woken up early to watch weddings in my pajamas with scones, champagne, and hats.
We don’t do this in the United States of course, but we do at least have major state funerals. Two of late have highlighted great men who were true servants of their nation. Senator John McCain won my heart for his service in Vietnam, and his unbelievable mental and physical stamina while in captivity for so many years.
In today’s state funeral for former president George H.W. Bush we laid another patriot to rest. Of course I didn’t agree with all that he did during his service, but that is beside the point on this day. George Bush dedicated his life to public service, and it seems he did it for the right reason—because he loved his country. His Secretary of State James Baker said that Mr. Bush’s family had “inculcated” a spirit of service in him from a young age. His momma told him to always be humble as well.
This explains why he didn’t gloat over the falling of the Berlin Wall. Kicking people when they are down is juvenile and short-sighted. Bush knew that we would be working with people on both sides of the Berlin issue, and it was diplomatically wrong for the U.S. to look as though we were celebrating.
His experience in the diplomatic service taught him that.
When he decided to send troops to Iraq to topple the dictator Saddam Hussein, he didn’t take the decision lightly. He knew he’d be sending American children to die in a foreign land.
His experience as a World War II veteran taught him that.
In a world where experience is often disregarded as an important qualification for political office in favor of fresh ideas and energy, I offer George Bush. I believe his decades-long service in a breadth of roles informed his decisions as president for the better.
Thank you Mr. Bush.
Photo Credit: Joyce N. Boghosian | White House Photo Office