Skip to main content

tv   U.S. Senate Sen. Dick Durbin D-IL Remembers President George H.W. Bush  CSPAN  December 5, 2018 3:12am-3:25am EST

3:12 am
and inspired. president bush bush leaves behind six children, 17 grandchildren, and eight great grandchildren. he and barbara in married for 73 years, the longest presidential marriage in the history of the united states. god bless the memory of president president president george herbert walker bush. god bless the legacy of service he and barbara instilled in generation after generation of the bush family. texas and america are far better for having known and loved him. mr. presid the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, several years ago after his 3-year-old daughter robin passed away from leukemia, george herbert walker bush wrote to his
3:13 am
mother about how much he loved and missed his little girl. it's a beautiful, almost heartbreaking letter. near the end he wrote about his daughter's continued presence in his life and the life of his family. he said he cannot touch her and yet we feel her. president bush himself is now passed beyond our reach. and yet we all feel the difference that he made in the nation and in the world. many of us feel that deep longing for a kinder, gentler nation that president bush promised in his inaugural address 30 years ago. george herbert walker bush was an american patriot who devoted his life to his family and to his country. on his 18th birthday six months after pearl harbor, he enlisted in the united states navy and became one of the youngest aviators in the history of the navy. he was discharged one month after japan's surrender but he
3:14 am
never stopped serving america. there's a book entitled fly boys which tells the story of the squadron which george herbert walker bush was part of. and the deadly mission they were given in the south pacific. he flew some 58 missions as a navy pilot. in this particular assignment he was shot down and two of his crew were killed in that confrontation. fortunately for us and for him, he was rescued by a submarine, and there is that grainy, black and white film of his being fished out of the ocean by that american submarine and his life saved that is still an inspiration to this day. as the 41st president of the united states and the father of the 43rd president, he was the
3:15 am
linchpin of a political dine dynasty that -- that spanned four generations. he already ha a lifetime of public service. as a text congressman and ambassador to the united nations, envoy to china, director of the c.i.a., and vice president to ronald reagan. despite his extraordinary achievements he was a man of remarkable humility. if his sin text sounded a little choapy and times and dana carver made a for opportunity imitating him, it was due to the fact that george herbert walker bush had difficulty using the words i and me. his mother taught him when he was a young boy that those are the words of braggarts. riding in the presidential limousine through streets lined with cheering crowds, he once told a fellow passenger they're not clapping for me. they're clapping for the office of the president. that was exactly how he thought it should be. i was still a rather new congressman when george herbert walker bush was president.
3:16 am
i sure didn't agree with all of his policies as my voting record demonstrates. but that is a discussion for another time. as president bush's own life shows us, there's a time for politics and there's a time to put politics aside and to recall the exceptional lifetime of service he gave to our nation. president reagan helped hurry the end of the cold war but it fell to president george herbert walker bush to successfully navigate the aftermath. when the berlin wall fell in 1989 he insisted there would be no gloating, no triumphalism from his administration. his low-key approach helped set the tone for our nato allies as well and it helped make possible the peaceful end of the soviet union. never before has such a heavily armed empire ended with so little turmoil or bloodshed in its final days. the two years before the
3:17 am
collapse of the soviet union president bush and mikhail gorbachev successfully started a nuclear arms treaty. george per bert walker bush, we saw the largest reduction in nuclear weapons in history and america and the world are safer today because of it. if you want to see the world's enduring respect for president bush, look at the statesman and stateswomen expected to attend his memorial service tomorrow at the national cathedral. among them mick makail gorbachev and angela murkle who grew up in communist east germany. it is said that the germans today credit george herbert walker bush more than any person for their successful reunification. he knew the -- he knew that america was stronger when we work with partners than when we imagine that we can somehow go it alone. when rocky troops invaded kuwait
3:18 am
in 1990, george herbert walker bush had methodically assembled an international coalition to push them back. he left his mark on domestic policies as well. he fought for the americans with disabilities act, one of the greatest civil rights laws in our nation's modern history. president bush was a committed conservative and a texan by choice. he had close ties to the oil industry but he believed in science. what a welcome change that would be in washington today if his party felt the same. president george herbert walker bush understood that poisoning our planet is not just unfair to future generations, it's bad for business. it's bad for our economy. he helped build bipartisan support, this republican president helped build bipartisan support and signed the clean air act of 1990 strengthening the federal government's role in protecting
3:19 am
the very air we breathe. he signed the global change research act of 1990, establishing an interagency federal council to improve understanding of global change and to devise a plan to reduce the risk of climate catastrophe. what a sharp contrast to the current administration. george herbert walker's work was the work of a leader. between 1980 and 1990, america's budget deficit tripled to $220 billion driven largely by the reagan era tax cuts. in 1990 with a lot of criticism, president bush had the courage to sign a tax increase as president reagan had before him to help pay down the deficit for future generations. he put the interests of future generations ahead of his own short-term political advantage and he paid a heavy price in the next election. he maybe even loss because of
3:20 am
it. years later he received a profile in courage award for that leadership. in his inaugural address president bush said the real strength and greatness of america came from a thousand points of light, the countless acts of decency and compassion we show to each other and to those in need. in his post-presidential year, he remained a committed advocate for volunteerism and community and national service. he was active in domestic and global humanitarian activities often alongside former president bill clinton, an old political opponent turned ally. in 1995 after a domesticster i.r.s. domestic terrorist bombed the mur ra building in oklahoma city killing 168 people, injuring 680 more, the national rifle association sent out a fund raising letter denouncing the federal agents of the bureau of alcohol, tobacco and firearms as, quote, jackbooted thugs, close quote.
3:21 am
former president george herbert walker bush reacted with anger. he denounced that vitriol by the n.r.a. as, quote, a vicious slander on good people. end of quote. he publicly resigned his n.r.a. lifetime membership placing conscience ahead of political position. the terror of war, george herbert walker bush did not confuse politics with war. he did not mistake political opponents for enemies. he understood that people can have differences of opinion and both still love the country. our sadness at losing him seems partly a reflection for our own deep, deep yearning a nation today for the kind of leadership and character and integrity and honesty and courage that he brought to the office of presidency. in his first inaugural address, president lincoln pleaded with the nation on the knife's edge
3:22 am
of war. he said, we are not enemies but friends. we must not be enemies. lincoln urged us to be guided by the better angels of our nature. in his own inaugural address, president george herbert walker bush also spoke of all americans as friends. let me read two short sections of his remarks. my friends, he told us, we are not the sum of our possessions. they are not the measure of our lives. and our hearts we know what matters. we cannot hope only to leave our children a bigger car, a bigger bank account. we must hope to give them a sense of what it means to be a loyal friend, a loving parent, a citizen who leaves his home, his neighborhood and town better than he found it and what do we want the men and women who work with us to say when we're no longer here? that we were more driven to succeed than anyone around us or that we stopped to ask if a sick child had gotten per and stayed a moment there to trade a word
3:23 am
of friendship? president george bush went on to say, and i quote, america is never holy herself unless she's engaged in high moral principle. we as a people have such a purpose today. it is to make kinder the face of the nation and gentler the face of the world. my friends, he said, we have work to do. as a tribute to george herbert walker bush who lies in state in the rotunda of the united states capitol, the 32nd percentage person -- 32nd person to be so honored in our history, let us try to remember we are not enemies but friends and may we summon the courage and humility to put the interest of our nation and world ahead of self-interest. in closing, my wife loretta and i send our deepest condolences to president bush, his family, and all who knew and loved him. mr. president, i yield the
3:24 am
>> the state funeral for george h.w. bush is being held today. it gets underway at 11:00 a.m. eastern. afterward, the former president's remains head back to texas for public viewing in houston. on thursday, there is a funeral service at st. martin's episcopal church with a burial that afternoon at the george bush presidential library and museum in college station. live coverage continues through the week on c-span. we take you back now to the u.s. capitol rotunda were former president george h.w. bush is lying in state. this is live coverage on c-span.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on