Barack Obama: George H.W. Bush was a 'patriot and humble servant'


Former President Obama and his wife Michelle issued a statement honoring George H.W. Bush late Friday after his family announced that he had died at the age of 94.

The Obamas praised Bush, calling him "a patriot and humble servant" with "a legacy of service that may never be matched, even though he’d want all of us to try."

"While our hearts are heavy today, they are also filled with gratitude. Not merely for the years he spent as our forty-first President, but for the more than 70 years he spent in devoted service to the country he loved – from a decorated Naval aviator who nearly gave his life in World War II, to Commander-in-Chief of our Armed Forces, with plenty of posts along the way. Ambassador to the United Nations. Director of Central Intelligence. U.S. Envoy to China. Vice President of the United States," the Obamas said.

"George H.W. Bush’s life is a testament to the notion that public service is a noble, joyous calling. And he did tremendous good along the journey," they added.

The Obamas praised the nation's 41st president for his work aimed at helping immigrants and people with disabilities as well as his efforts leading an international alliance to victory in the first Gulf War and pushing for peace after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

They also mentioned Bush's former wife, Barbara, whom he was married to for 73 years before she died in April at the age of 92.

"After seventy-three years of marriage, George and Barbara Bush are together again now, two points of light that never dimmed, two points of light that ignited countless others with their example – the example of a man who, even after commanding the world’s mightiest military, once said 'I got more of a kick out of being one of the founders of the YMCA in Midland, Texas back in 1952 than almost anything I’ve done,'" they said.

"What a testament to the qualities that make this country great. Service to others. Commitment to leaving behind something better. Sacrifice in the name of lifting this country closer to its founding ideals. Our thoughts are with the entire Bush family tonight – and all who were inspired by George and Barbara’s example."

Bush's family announced his death Friday in a statement released through his son, former President George W. Bush. The statement, which did not list a cause of death, described their patriarch “as a man of the highest character and the best dad a son or daughter could ask for.”

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