George Herbert Walker Bush
Burial Location Visited President Grave #
College Station, Texas March 12, 2019 39th Visited

In November 2018, nearly five years after I
completed my goal of visiting the graves
of every U.S. president and vice president,
George H. W. Bush, who held both posts,
passed away. He was laid to rest at the
George Bush Presidential Library and
Museum, where I paid my respects in 2019.

On November 25, 2017, Bush surpassed
Gerald Ford as the longest-lived U.S.
president. The following June, he became
the first chief executive to live to age
ninety-four. Jimmy Carter broke Bush's
longevity record on March 22, 2019.

The 41st president is buried alongside his
wife of seventy-three years, Barbara, and
their daughter, Robin, who died of leukemia
in 1953 at age three. Robin was relocated
from her original grave in Greenwich,
Connecticut, to College Station in 2000.

In his retirement, Bush wore
dress socks with designs that
celebrated events, causes, or
people, such as World Down
Syndrome Day, Superman, the
American flag, and literacy. He was
that reflected his service as a naval
aviator in World War II.

* Fast Facts * *

- First Lady: Barbara Pierce Bush

  - Spouse: Barbara Pierce Bush (m. 1945-2018)

- Political Party: Republican Party

- Vice President: James Danforth Quayle

- Born: June 12, 1924

- Died: November 30, 2018

- Age: 94

- Cause of Death: Vascular Parkinson's Disease 

- Last Words: "I love you, too."

- Cemetery: George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, College Station, Texas
- GPS Coordinates: 30°35'52.3"N 96°21'01.4"W

* * * Background on George H. W. Bush * * *

* Like many Americans in the wake of the attack on the Pearl Harbor Naval Base, George Herbert Walker Bush enlisted in the armed services once he reached the age of eligibility. In 1942, he joined the Navy on his way to becoming the branch's youngest aviator. In his decorated military career of fifty-eight combat missions, the most notable incident came on September 2, 1944, when his squadron raided the Japanese island of Chichijima. Bush's craft was critically damaged, but he managed to drop its payload before he piloted the fiery wreck away from the island. Bush maneuvered the TBM Avenger so he and his two crew members could parachute into the Pacific Ocean. One man never exited the plane, while another's parachute failed to open. The lone survivor, Bush floated in a raft for four hours until he was rescued by a submarine, the USS Finback. After his eventual discharge, Bush took advantage of the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, known colloquially as the G.I. Bill, and attended Yale University. He went on to hold numerous jobs, including oil company president, congressman, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, vice president, and president.

* The defining foreign policy episode of Bush's administration began on August 2, 1990, when Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's forces invaded the neighboring nation of Kuwait, which held crucial oil reserves. Unwilling to let the dictator gain further strategic advantages, the Bush White House worked to form a coalition of thirty-four countries to oppose Hussein, including several Arab states. Six months after the invasion, Operation Desert Storm commenced with air strikes on Iraqi military sites. The ground offensive five weeks later ushered out the invaders and liberated Kuwait. The victory earned Bush a ninety percent approval rating according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll, the highest for a president since 1945. His numbers began to slide when he failed to use the opportunity to establish a more definitive domestic agenda.

* When he ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 1980, Bush derided opponent Ronald Reagan's supply-side economic plan as "voodoo economics." Reagan earned the nod, but chose the moderate Bush as his running-mate. Eight years later, in his second presidential bid, Bush attempted to extinguish doubts of his conservatism with a promise to tell Congress, "Read my lips: no new taxes." The soundbite helped propel the Texan to the White House, but he broke his vow when faced with a stalling economy and increasing deficits. A bipartisan remedy was announced in September 1990, which included higher excise and gas taxes. House Minority Whip Newt Gingrich led conservative opposition in defeating the compromise bill. President Bush arranged a new deal that was even more favorable to Democrats, which was passed by Congress. The move felt like betrayal to some Republicans such as former White House Director of Communications Pat Buchanan, who challenged the incumbent president for the party nomination in his 1992 re-election bid. Bush fended off Buchanan and headed for a general election showdown with Independent Ross Perot and Democrat Bill Clinton. The Arkansas governor chided Bush's attempts to portray him as trigger-happy on taxes as hypocritical, and the economy did not recover soon enough for the president to reap the benefits and win a second term.

Sources Consulted                                                                                                                                                     

Baker, Peter. "'I Love You Too': George Bush's Final Days." New York Times, December 1, 2018.

Broder, David S. and Richard Morin. "Bush Popularity Surges with Gulf Victory. Washington Post, March 6, 1991. victory/40a154e7-7668-409c-b89c-4bebb2c2a159/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.6f3fffbc3cf3.

"The First Gulf War." Office of the Historian, United States Department of State. Accessed December 5, 2018.

"George Herbert Walker Bush." Naval History and Heritage Command. Accessed December 5, 2018. h-w.html.

Kornacki, Steve. "These six words changed George H.W. Bush's presidency." NBC News, December 4, 2018.

Lindsey, David. "Bush's single White House term shaped U.S. history for decades." Reuters, December 1, 2018. for-decades-idUSKCN1O032Q.

McGrath, Jim. Twitter Post. December 3, 2018, 5:48 AM.

The Presidents. "Carter to Bush (1977-2005)." Episode 8. History Channel, 2005.

Villeneuve, Marina. "Bush's bald head a reminder of his own child's leukemia fight." Los Angeles Times, July 26, 2013. story.html.

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