Bush was man worthy of emulating


We have just seen the passing of an exemplary head of state, President George Herbert Walker Bush. Instead of a national day of mourning, more appropriate would be a national day of remembrance and reflection on the legacy of a man worthy of emulating.

His was a life of dedicated public service, from WWII Navy fighter pilot to Congress to the State Department to head of state. President Bush approached all with integrity and prudence (embodies: wisdom, caution, good judgment, shrewdness and common sense).

He served with a quiet dignity, never boastful or grandiose. The epitome of his graciousness was evident in not gloating during the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 but rather chose a prudent caution as he gave Mikhail Gorbachev a chance to rebuild the fallen regime in a new light. And it worked – a relatively harmonious transition for which Mr. Gorbachev, in his memoir, thanked President Bush for his magnanimity.

Indeed, there is a lot to be said for the prudent, diplomatic approach to any situation, and especially on the world stage, as versus boisterous bluster and bravado. In most cases (unless conflict is the only recourse after all other is exhausted) quiet diplomacy will reap the greater reward.

There is a symbolism in President Bush’s time of leaving us. Nov. 30 is near the end of the Christian liturgical year, which begins anew with Advent. In Advent, we look back at the year God has brought us through and look forward to the celebration of his gift of the Messiah.

As the end approached, President Bush’s former secretary of state and friend of 60 years, James A. Baker III, was at his side. In a poignant moment, according to news reports, the president opened his eyes and asked, ”Bake, where are we going today?” Baker replied, “...we’re going to heaven.” The president replied, “Good, that’s where I want to go.”

Thank you, Mr. President, for your legacy worthy of emulation. Smile on us with prudent decorum, so in this season of goodwill to all, and beyond, we and our leaders may become a kinder, gentler people.

Patricia F. Ladehoff, Woodstock