GWHB: A president and a gentleman

President George H W Bush, or Bush 41, as many refer to him, passed away in Houston, Texas.

It's not a shock to hear that a 94-year-old man dies.  At the same time, I was not aware of any last-minute health issues, as we were with Mrs. Bush. 

We will miss President Bush 41.  I'm not talking about his politics or presidential legacy.  My guess is that he will rank high among our one-term presidents, such as President Adams.

We will remember Bush 41 for two things that characterize that generation of men.  I saw them in my late father, a generational contemporary of Bush 41.

First, they were tough as nails.  They got up every day knowing that life had no guarantees or safety nets.  Bush 41 learned this when he was shot down and floating in the waters of the Pacific, knowing that a shark could attack him in a heartbeat.  My father understood it when he came to the U.S. with a wife and three kids, ready to start again.

Second, they were gentlemen in private and public.  They raised their sons to be gentlemen, too.  In their world, a gentleman did more than buy the latest fashions or tell ladies what they want to hear.  A gentleman acted with class, from celebrating victory to conceding defeat.

"A man of a different era" is what they are saying in the coverage.  We could use a bit more of that era, or a time when men were tough and genteel at the same time.

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Image: AJ Guel via Flickr.

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