President George H. W. Bush’s death is notable. It seems nowadays presidents living to age 90 is not unusual. John Adams was the first, dying in 1826, and the second Herbert C. Hoover in 1964.
His lengthy achievements are notable. The fact that he became the first sitting vice president to be elected president in 1988 since 1836, when Martin Van Buren did it, is notable. They both failed to win a second term.
Another feature is Norfolk County, Mass., the only county to have four presidents born in it: John Adams, John Quincy Adams, John F. Kennedy and President Bush. The Adamses and Bushes are the only father-and-son tandems to have been elected president.
President Bush, like a number of our presidents, had Rhode Island ancestry. Many will note their ties to Greenwich, Conn. His father, Prescott Bush served in the United States Senate from Connecticut.
President George W. Bush, his son, was born in Connecticut when his father was at Yale University.
President George H.W. Bush was the youngest United States Navy pilot at the time, and served in World War II. and won multiple decorations. Locally he flew at the U.S. Navy landing field in Charlestown. A Bush family tragedy happened outside Watch Hill. On September 4, 1920, Flora Sheldon Bush, President Bush’s paternal grandmother, was involved in a motor vehicle accident. I know a Mystic resident was charged, but I do not know the full story on that event. That was a few years before President Bush was born in 1924.
Personally, I did not know President Bush. But I share ancestors with him, and he was a Republican like me.
In 1992, I was a Bush delegate candidate in the Second Congressional District of Rhode Island in the primary that year.
I was an alternate delegate for President Bush at the Republican National Convention that year in Houston, Texas. He lost the election to then-Arkansas Gov. William J. “Bill” Clinton that year. Certainly the candidacy of H. Ross Perot did impact that election. We can certainly debate what would have happened if Perot did not run.
George H. W. Bush had a remarkable life. He appears to have been a decent man. Reflecting credit on himself, his family, nation, and party. If I can be forgiven for making a partisan remark, he is a figure all Republicans especially can be proud. Accomplished, good people skills, lack of arrogance or pretense, served our country in times of a great war, and not boastful. George Herbert Walker Bush made his mark.
Scott Bill Hirst
The writer is a Hopkinton town councilor.