The news that George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st president of the United States, had died at 94 on Friday set off a flurry of commemorations and remembrances from family, friends, colleagues and strangers throughout the world who were touched by his life.
George W. Bush, his son and the country’s 43rd president, released a statement on behalf of his siblings and the entire Bush family.
“Jeb, Neil, Marvin, Doro, and I are saddened to announce that after 94 remarkable years, our dear Dad has died,” he said. “George H. W. Bush was a man of the highest character and the best dad a son or daughter could ask for. The entire Bush family is deeply grateful for 41’s life and love, for the compassion of those who have cared and prayed for Dad, and for the condolences of our friends and fellow citizens.”
President Trump and first lady Melania Trump also said they joined the nation in grieving for Bush. They said he “always found a way to set the bar higher” and guided the nation with “sound judgement, common sense, and unflappable leadership.”
“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 wrote.
Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence released a statement saying Bush left the world more peaceful, prosperous and secure.
“Karen and I were saddened to learn of the passing of President George H.W. Bush and we send our deepest sympathies to the entire Bush family. President Bush loved his family, loved this country and his legacy will be a lifetime of service to the United States of America,” they wrote.
And the fond remembrances of Bush’s strong character and selflessness were by no means limited to one side of the aisle. Barack Obama, the nation’s 44th president, called Bush “a patriot and humble servant” whose death leaves Americans with heavy hearts that are filled with gratitude. In a statement, Obama said that Bush’s legacy of service may never be matched but he would want everyone to try.
“George H.W. Bush’s life is a testament to the notion that public service is a noble, joyous calling,” Obama said. “And he did tremendous good along the journey. Expanding America’s promise to new immigrants and people with disabilities. Reducing the scourge of nuclear weapons and building a broad international coalition to expel a dictator from Kuwait. And when democratic revolutions bloomed across Eastern Europe, it was his steady, diplomatic hand that made possible an achievement once thought anything but — ending the Cold War without firing a shot.”
The body of the former president was transported to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Monday. Mourners lined up to pay their respects. The American flag-draped casket will remain in the Capitol Rotunda until the state funeral at the Washington National Cathedral on Wednesday.