good evening. thank you for joining us. breaking news as we come on the air. george herbert walker bush, the 41st president of the use, has died. he was 94 years old. the patriarch of one of the most powerful political dynasties in the world. president bush dying 7 months and 13 days of his wife barbara are passed away. bush 41 was the last president of the greatest generation. aced victory w defeat andcntrybe human interuncommon grace. david muir looks back at the life and legacy of this american president. >> reporter: george herbert walker bush, america's 41st
president. born june 12th, 1924 in milton, massachusetts, one of five children. he was the son of a bank sper a politician. he would later meet the love of his life, barbara pierce, an at a christmas dance. he was the first boy she would kiss. george enlisted in the war becoming the youngest pilot in the u.s. navy. overseas, george and barbara could keep up the romance with love letters to his darling barb. two years in, he was shot down over the pacific. >> i knew if it wasn't rescued, i would be captured and it was a har rogue experience. >> but he he went to yale, and the captain of the baseball team. they could have six children.
it was a loss of his daughter their broke both of them. >> he was very close. >> i was very close to her. >> she adored him. >> what was it that pulled you back on your feet afterwards? >> he was very strong then. it was wonderful. >> they had moved the family to texas where he ran a successful oil business. then he would enter politics. >> george bush the republican candidate for the senate. >> he would layer run for president in 1980. >> that is why i want to be president. >> and ronald reagreagreagreagrg president. >> i want a kinder and gentler nation. >> as president when saddam
hussein invaded kuwait, it was george bush launching operation desert storm. >> kuwait is liberated. iraq's army is defeated. our military on jekibjectives a. >> there was a promise he made four years earlier that came back to haunt him. >> read my lives, no >> he would lose to bill clinton and the stung. describes the loss to diane sawyer. >> i just had a feeling of letting down a lot of people. a lot of people who work for me. you have a ghastly feeling you let them down and you get over i. >> he would leave a letter for bill n, sing i never felt the loneliness that some have described. i am rooting hardur.
headridship, a bond. and they raise money for the victims of the tsunami and here at home after katrina. >> it wasn't make you an enemy. >> george h.w. bush would prove he is forever young, jumping from a plane on his birthday. he and barbara were married 75 years and he had was holding her hand until the very end. he bid farewell to his wife. the clintons, and the first lady trump by his side and how she would want her husband remembered. >> he is the most decent, honorable, wonderful -- nobody's as lucky as i am. i want people to remember him as
courageous. i want people to remember him as he is. >> as he sat before his wife, there was sadness, not fear. as he once told diane. >> i do think that you go to heaven, there is a heaven. and -- and i don't fear it. when i was a little guy, i feared it. i worried about i. and scared. not anymore. >> there is a heaven. thanks to david muir. on the phone with us tonight is presidential historian mark uptergrove. you wroe the story request the last republican" about the bushes. how should they honor this man? >> he is the last of the world war ii presidents. the last george h.w. bush.
he embodied the best of the greatest generation. secondly, he was president we needed to place to preside over the world at the end of the cold war, which ended peacefully. due in large part to his diplomatic skills. and he is the patriarch of the bush dynasty, which has seen two presidents. >> talk about his relationship with president bush -- president clinton, there was civility between the two. they formed a friendship. >> they did, and an unlikely friendship. i happened in the millennium when george h.w. bush's's eldest child succeeded him in the presidency. he and clinton together had toured southeast asia as a
tsunami ripped apart the world and they formed an unlikely friendship. a lot had to do with their great respect for one another. one of the things that president bush said to me, that friendship became a dividend in his life. something had he was very grateful for. >> one can make the argue m no modern day president had had a better resume than george h.w. bush for the job. talk about his service to the nation. >> he started off running for the senate in 1964 unsuccessfully. he run in congress, a drik in houston. two times in 1965 to 1969. he e ran for senate again unsuccessfully. he became -- i he went to the united nation, as a represe
representative of the united states. and he was chairman of the gop in water gate. a turbulent time. and after that, he was a special envoy to china, and knowing that china would see its rise in the world and then he became the director of the cia before leaving public life for a few years and coming back to run for president in 1980 unsuccessfully but was tapped by ronald reagan to be a running mate and achieving presidency himself in 1988. >> mark uptergrove, thank you. abc's cokie roberts joins us now. good evening. what are your memories of the american president? >> he was such an incredibly decent human being. and that was true throughout his
life. we talked about how his mother called him don't brag, which is hard for a politician. but he took it to heart and he really was really self effacing always and put other people first mimp last saw him this summer when i went up to kennebunkport to do an event for the barbara bush literacy program and i had my 13-year-old grandson with me and we went in to see president bush who was in a wheelchair and not able to speak that well. but had such a sense of human interwas so kind to my grandson that he said to me later, he said i think that guy still has his humor with him. and he just always tried desperately to do the right thing. and there were times in his political life that he did things you and i might have said were not up and up always which
happens in the course of a campaign. but by and large, the words i use to describe him is just incredibly decent. >> cokie, thank you so much. when we come back, more on the life of the 41st president, george herbert walker bush. be right back. dad: oh, hey guys! mom (on speakerphone): hi! son (on speakerphone): dad, i scored two goals today! dad: oh, that's great! vo: getting to a comfortable retirement doesn't have to be an uncomfortable thought. see how lincoln can help you retire on your terms at lincolnfinancial.com ...that's why i've got the power of 1-2-3 medicines with trelegy. the only fda-approved 3-in-1 copd treatment. ♪ trelegy. the power of 1-2-3
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commitment to faith, country. he inspired others to public service to be in miswords a thousand points ofour hears achd we as the american people send our prayers to the entire bush family as we honor the life and legacy from 41. a statement from president trump and first lady melania trump. in 2012 diane sawer is a down with president bush on the eve of his 80th birthday. we talked about the strength he gets from family and the time here on earth and a sanctuary for the bush family. in kennebunkport, maine. >> what do you see? >> i see the power of the sea. i just feel totally relaxed here
in maine by the coast. >> is it a good time? >> in life? yeah, it is a good time. and barbara makes a lot of that for us and family. family means everything to me. >> is there something you always want to make sure you say to them, to make sure they know, even that you now have great grandchildren? >> zwlaus we have them and there is my great granddaughter on the point right now. d it's not a fearsome thing. it's not worry that i am cheated out of something. and if i wasn't blessed, on kids and grand kids and family, and including, of course, barbara. very lucky. and friendship, family and friends. >> even though you grew up in a very comfortable life, there is
always a sense of responsibility to the rest of the world. >> well, there should be. we have been given a lot of material things and have been very blessed and you look around and compared to -- others how lucky we have been. and you must feel responsibility to others and you must believe in serving others. >> you talked recently about how tough it was after the re-election campaign. >> after losing, yeah. it was not easy. out there trying your hardest and my feeling was, i just had a great feeling of letting down a lot of people. a lot of people that worked for me. a lot of people who worked for the administration. you have a ghastly feeling you let them down and you get over i and u g on with your life. >> you have always been an optimist, no matter what. >> that's right.
you got to continue to be. i am an optimist about life and everything that lies ahead. >> after 67 years, what have you learned about mrs. bush? >> i learned a lot about her. she is just so kind and everything. and leader of our family. and she's an amazing spirit. amazing, unselfish spirit and she -- too bad the grand kids aren't here. you could ask them about her. i just sit there now and watch her interact with the family. she is just wonderful. and every night, there she is. we say our prayers and to sleep. never go to bed angry and stay angry. you never stay angry. that is good advice for mar if you get in a fight -- you can have fights, i'm sure.
but don't go to sleep being angry. >> our thanks to diane sawyer. >> when we come back, more on the life of the optimistic president. >> this special edition of "nightline" is sponsored by --. whoa! the mercedes-benz winter event is back, and you won't want to stop for anything else. lease the gla 250 for $359 a month at your local mercedes-benz dealer. mercedes-benz. the best or nothing. i'm missing out on our family outings because i can't find a bladder leakage product that fits. everything was too loose. but depend® fit-flex feels tailored to me. with a range of sizes for all body types.
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and once again, if you are just joining us, george hesht walker bush, the 41st p of the united states, has died. he was 94 years old. a statement from his son, president george w. bush tonight. jeb, kneel, marvin and i are sad to announce that after 94 remafrkible years, our dear dad has died. he was a man of the highest character and a best dad a son, daughter could ask for. we are grateful for his life, love, the compassion of those who loved and prayed for dad and the condolences from fellow
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