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On this crisp winter day in Norfolk, VA., the President of the United States joined Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, the Secretary of State Condeleeza Rice, Virginia Governor Tom Kaine and members of the Bush family to honor his father, George H.W. Bush as the USS George HW Bush is commissioned and sent into duty.
Both of the Bush Presidents have said this is a deeply emotional day. Our President began his tribute with some humor, reading a letter his father had written when 43 was just a toddler, commenting on his talks being “rambling and sentences often disjointed”, and then the President chuckled and said “somethings never change”.
What do you give a man in his 80′s who has his wife of 64 years, a loving family, and everything he could want? “An aircraft carrier” remarked the President.
The day was a family affair. Barbara Bush was mentioned by Secretary Gates, and the President called her the strongest force of nature. Mrs. Bush recently underwent surgery. Their daughter, Dorothy, called the ship to life, at which point the bells rang and the crew ran to their post positions.
President Bush, attempting to remain composed, said the greatest thing his father should him and his siblings, through example, was that integrity and honor are the most important aspects of one’s character.
Having once toured the USS Carl Vinson, the magnitude of the aircraft carrier is impressive, a floating city all unto itself. The workings and mechanics of the full crew are equally impressive in action.
Such an impressive aircraft carrier is a fitting tribute and honor to a man who has led a distinguished lifetime career in the service of this great Nation: a Navy pilot at 19, who was shot down during the WWII and was then highly decorated, he went on to be a Texas businessman, a member of the House of Representatives, Liason the Republic of China, the Director of the CIA, the Vice President of the United States under Ronald Reagan, the President of the United States, and ultimately, as a leading statesman.
USS George HW Bush