On Wednesday, the American people witnessed a historic event: A president praising his father, who was also president.
It could have been any other son praising his father, and it was moving.
Below is the complete transcript of George W. Bush's eulogy for his father, George H. W. Bush, with yellow annotations.
Distinguished guests, including our presidents and first ladies, government officials, foreign dignitaries and friends, Jeb, Neil, Marvin, Doro and I, and our families, thank you for being here.
One day, I heard about the man that the idea was to die young, as late as possible.
At 85, George HW Bush's favorite hobby was setting his boat, the Fidelity, on fire and opening the three 300 horsepower engines to fly – with joy – across the Atlantic with secret services that were trying to follow.
At the age of 90, George H. W. Bush parachuted a plane and landed on the St. Ann's by the Sea field in Kennebunkport, Maine, at the church where his mother was married and often worshiped. Mom liked to say that he chose the location in case the chute would not open.
In his 90s, he was delighted when his closest friend, James A. Baker, smuggled a bottle of Gray Goose vodka into his hospital room. Apparently, he blends well with the steak that Baker had delivered to Morton.
Until his last days, Dad's life was instructive. As he grew older, he taught us to grow up with dignity, humor and kindness, and when the good God finally called, to meet him with courage and with the joy of the promise of what lies ahead.
One of the reasons Papa knew how to die young is that he almost did it twice. When he was a teenager, a staph infection nearly cost him his life. A few years later, he was alone in the Pacific on a life raft, praying that his rescuers would find him before the enemy discovered him.
God answered these prayers. It turned out that he had other projects for George H.W. Buisson.
As far as Dad is concerned, I think that these rubs with death made him cherish the gift of life and that he swore to live every day to the fullest.
Dad was always busy, a man in constant motion, but never too busy to share his love of life with those around him.
He taught us to love the outdoors. He liked to watch the dogs shoot. He loved landing the elusive stripper. And once locked in a wheelchair, he seemed the happiest sitting in his favorite perch under the porch of Walker's Point, gazing at the majesty of the Atlantic.
The horizons that he saw were brilliant and hopeful. He was really an optimistic man, and this optimism guided his children and made everyone believe that everything was possible.
He continually expanded his horizons with bold decisions.
He was a patriot. After high school, he suspended his studies and became a fighter pilot of the Navy at the outbreak of the Second World War.
Like many people of his generation, he never spoke of his service until his time as a public figure forced him to hand. We learned the attack of Chichi Jima, the mission ended, the shooting. We learned of the deaths of his teammates, whom he thought all his life. And we learned the rescue.
And then another daring decision: He moved his young family from the comfort of the East Coast to Odessa, Texas.
He and his mother quickly adapted to their arid environment. He was a tolerant man. After all, he was kind to the women with whom he shared a bathroom in our little duplex, even after he had learned their craft: ladies of the night.
Dad could have relationships with people from all walks of life. He was an empathic man. He valued the character in relation to the pedigree. And he was not cynical. He sought the good in each person and he found it generally.
Dad taught us that public service is noble and necessary, that we can serve with integrity and stay true to important values such as faith and family.
He firmly believed that it was important to give back to the community and the country in which we lived. He acknowledged that service to others enriched the soul of the donor. For us, his was the brightest of a thousand points of light.
In victory, he shared the credit. When he lost, he carried the blame. He admitted that failure is part of a busy life, but he taught us to never be defined by failure. He showed us how setbacks can get stronger.
None of his disappointments can be compared to one of the greatest tragedies of our life, the loss of a young child. Jeb and I were too young to remember the pain and agony felt by him and his mother when our 3 year old sister passed away. We only learned later that Dad, a man of quiet faith, prayed for her every day. He was supported by the love of the Almighty and the real and lasting love of our mother. Dad always believed that someday he would kiss his precious Robin again.
He loved to laugh, especially of himself. He could tease and sting, but never by malice.
He valued a good joke. That's why he chose Simpson to speak.
On the email, he had a circle of friends with whom he shared or received the latest jokes. His ranking system for the quality of the joke was classic: George Bush: the rare seven and seven were considered big winners, most of them brightly colored.
George Bush has been a faithful and faithful friend. He has nurtured and honored many – his many friendships – with a generous and generous soul.
There are thousands of encouraging or sympathetic handwritten notes or thanking friends and acquaintances. He had a huge capacity to give himself.
Many people would tell you that Dad has become a mentor and a father figure in their lives. He listened and he consoled. It was their friend.
I think of Don Rhodes, Taylor Blanton, Jim Nantz, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and, perhaps most unbelievably, the man who defeated him, Bill Clinton. My brothers and sisters and I refer to the guys in this group as brothers of other mothers.
He taught us that a day was not meant to be lost. He played golf at a legendary pace. I always wondered why he insisted on speed golf. He was a good golfer. Well, here's my conclusion: he played fast so he could move on to the next event, enjoy the rest of the day, spend his enormous energy, live everything.
He was born with only two settings: full diet, then sleep.
He taught us what it means to be a wonderful father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He was firm in his principles and encouraging when we started looking for our own ways. He encouraged and comforted but never led.
We tested his patience. I know I did it.
But he always responded with the great gift of unconditional love.
Last Friday, when I was told that he had a few minutes to live, I called him. The guy who answered the phone said, "He – I think he can hear, but he has not said anything for most of the day." I have said, "Dad, I love you and you've been great. Father. "And the last words that he would have ever said on Earth were:" I love you too. "
For us, he was close to perfection. But not totally perfect. His short game was nil.
He was not really Fred Astaire on the dance floor.
The man could not digest vegetables, especially broccoli.
And by the way, he passed on these genetic defects.
Finally, every day of his 73 years of marriage, Dad taught us all what it means to be a great husband. He married his darling. He loved it. He laughed and cried with her. He was totally devoted to him.
In his old age, Dad liked watching police reruns, high volume.
All the while, holding mom's hand. After Mom's death, Dad was strong, but all he really wanted to do was hold Ma's hand again.
Of course, daddy taught me another special lesson. He showed me what it means to be a president who sits with integrity, who drives with courage and acts with love in the hearts of the citizens of our country.
When the history books will be written, they will say that George HW Bush was a great president of the United States, a diplomat of incomparable talent, a commander-in-chief of a tremendous achievement and a gentleman who sank. discharged his duties with dignity and honor.
In its inaugural speech, the 41st President of the United States said: "We can only hope to leave our children a bigger car, a bigger bank account, and we must hope to give them an idea of what it means to be a faithful friend., a loving parent, a citizen who leaves home, neighborhood and city better than he has found.
"What do we want the men and women who work with us to say when we are gone? That we were more motivated to succeed than anyone around us, or that we stopped to ask if a sick child is safe? was improved, and stayed a moment there, to exchange a word of friendship.
Well, dad, we'll remember you for exactly that and so much more. And we will miss you. Your decency, your sincerity and your good soul will remain with us forever.
So, through our tears, let us know the blessings of knowing you and loving you, a great and noble man, the best father that a son or daughter can ask. And in our grief, let us smile, knowing that Dad takes Robin in his arms and holds his hand again.