tv U.S. Senate Re-air UK Sen. Tom Carper D-DE Remembers President George H.W.... CSPAN December 5, 2018 4:13am-4:31am EST
america, millions of others have thought about what a life of character means. they have thought about what the willingness to take responsibility means. they have thought about how important it is to share credit, to take blame, to be prepared, to believe that there is great value and virtue in serving others. that's what george herbert walker bush did, as we think back at the impact he and mrs. bush and their family have had on the country. there's a great lesson to be learned there. i hope, mr. president, we're all taking time to learn it. and i would yield the delaware. mr. carper: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, the presiding officer knows i spent a little time in the navy. i said to my father, my father
enlisted in the navy right before world war ii. he was not 18. george herbert walker bush was i think 18 -- on his 18th birthday, just out of high school, and he enlisted in the navy as a seaman second class. about a year later, he was off to corpus christi naval station where i earned my wings as a naval flight officer a long time ago. he became an ensign at the age i think of 19 and became maybe the youngest navy pilot around that time that they had in the navy, if you can believe that. a year or so later in september of 1943, he was on a ship, u.s.s. -- and i think this is san jacinto. he flew avenger bombers with the third fleet and the fifth fleet. if you think about it, he must have been at that point in time
20 years old. flying as a pilot on a -- on avenger bombers. that's pretty amaze. when i was 20 years old, i was a sophomore or junior at ohio state. the idea of flying missions. we did stuff in the summers, went up to corpus christi, fly airplanes and stuff. to be flying missions in the pacific theater in the middle of a world war ii is pretty astounding. 1944, he would have been by then 20 years old. he was a j.g., lieutenant j.g. i think i made j.g. when i was 22 or so. later that year in 1944 when i was still 20 years old, he got shot down off the coast by japanese antiaircraft fire while flying a mission to bomb a radio
site located about 600 miles south of japan. i think some of my missions in the vietnam war, we flew right by there. he was rescued by a u.s. submarine. they floated around the ocean for a while in an inflated raft. god bless the folks on that submarine, they somehow found out he was out there and found him. it's like finding a needle in a haystack. to find somebody on the little dingies from the airplane is hard enough. to try to find them from a submarine is even more difficult. so it's kind of miraculous to me that they found him and they saved him. september 2, 1944. in november of 1944, he returned to his ship, the u.s.s. san jacinto, and participated in an operation in the philippines. until his squadron was sent home. i was fond memories of operations out of the philippines and southeast asia, off the coast of southeast asia.
but his career took him there. he is by that time about 21. he was an old guy in the navy. a year or so later, discharged in september of 1945 from the navy. 58 combat missions during world war ii for which he was awarded the distinguished flying cross. you don't get much better than the distinguished flying cross. three air medals. i had one. this guy had three. and the president received a citation awarded to his ship which he was a member for a number of years. that is one heck of a record for a guy who signed up as a seaman second class at the age of 18. three years later, he finishes up after flying all those missions, and he's 21, 21. i'm still thinking what i was doing when i was 21. i wasn't doing this. i was looking forward to going into the navy on active duty and ended up in southeast asia where john mccain, one of our
colleagues who the presiding officer was a wingman in the senate from arizona for a number of years. but i never met george bush when he was on active duty in the navy. i was not yet born. my dad served with him at about the same time. they both spent a fair amount of time in airplanes. my dad was a chief petty officer. but george bush, my guess is he got pretty good leadership training from his parents, but starting at the age of 18, the navy took over and provided him with exceptional, exceptional leadership training. i would like to think some others of us, including john mccain, hopefully yours truly, some others with whom we served, not just in world war ii but in subsequent wars, including vietnam and even today, received great leadership training in the military. george herbert walker bush was trained, as was i and many of
our peers, that leaders are humble, not haughty. think about that. leaders are humble, not haughty. the speeches that were given last week as we gathered in the capitol and thousands of people have walked by his casket since, if there was ever a leader i have met who was humble, not haughty, it's george herbert walker bush. he was trained at -- that leaders lead by their example. not do as i say but do as i do. that is what he was like. he had the heart of a servant throughout his life he served. i can't remember all the different roles that he served in. maybe our presiding officer can help me. maybe the senator from tennessee who has joined me can fill in the blanks. but it was a pretty amaze career that included some jobs i wasn't even mindful of. a lot of us remember he was head of the c.i.a. everybody knows he was the president and vice president. so many other jobs.
ambassador to china. a host of other challenging positions. that he fulfilled every step of his life. congressman, ran for the u.s. senate. he ran for the u.s. senate -- correct me if i'm wrong, senator alexander, but my recollection, he ran for the u.s. senate not once but twice and was not successful either time. served in the house for four years. and sometimes we learn more frol than when we are successful. he was the kind of leader who thought that part of being a leader is staying out of step when everybody else is marching to the wrong tune. he was the kind of leader who felt a leader should be as pir asally appealed to people's better angels. he was the kind of leader who surrounded him with really good people. i have known a bunch of them, and so have some of you. he surrounded himself with exceptional people.
he was the sort of leader when the team did well, he would give the credit to the team. and when a team fell short, he would take the blame. he was one of those leaders who actually sought to unite people, not divide people. we hear a lot these days about building bridges and building walls and so forth. he was a bridge builder. never much for building walls. one of my favorite quotes about politics is in politics i think our friends come and go, but our enemies accumulate. all these years. people he ran against. bill clinton certainly comes to mind but others as well who have great affection for him, love for him. that's -- there is some secret there that the rest of us could probably learn from. the other thing that i was especially mindful of him of him
as a leader, he was always interested in doing what was right. he treated other people the way he wanted to be treated, the golden rule. he was interested in doing things well. he wanted people around him to do things well. sort of like if it isn't perfect, make it better. he was not one to give up. he was not one to give up. and for those reasons, and others, i like to say that he is a leader. we need more like him. both parties, here, the executive branch, other branches of our government. we could use more like him, men and women. but those of us who are lucky enough to be around him and to learn from him and see him in action, whether successful or not, it is a great opportunity for us. i have the opportunity now to serve as the senior democrat on the environment and public works committee. the chair is john barrasso. the chairman of the help committee is here on the floor
today, senator alexander. earlier when he was a member of the same committee, the environment and public works committee, we worked on clear skies legislation. president george bush, george w. bush, the son of george herbert walker bush, he had proposed clear skies legislation. as i recall, senator alexander and i, maybe along with senator voinovich of ohio, worked on something i call really clear skies. and much has been made of the -- of late of the environmental record of richard nixon. and i never thought i would be extolling the virtues of richard unemployment compensation as our president, but i have quite a bit in the last several years as the senior democrat on the environment and public works committee. i'm the only democrat i know who quotes richard nixon. nixon said, among other things, he used to say -- what did he used to say -- the only people who don't make mistakes are
people who don't do anything. isn't that good? the only people who don't make mistakes are people who don't do anything. and we all make mistakes. i have probably learned more from my mistakes than the things i have done right. but the environmental legacy -- people talk about the environmental legacy of richard nixon. signed legislation creating the e.p.a., signed legislation creating the clean air act, signed legislation creating the clean water act. he did do some amazing stuff. for a republican president with respect to the environment. and we -- not as much has been made of george herbert walker bush's environmental record, but i have some notes here that i'm going to refer to here to help refresh my memberrary and maybe expand a little bit on what others know. i remember in the house of representatives, we were working on clean air act amendments of 1990. i had the opportunity to co-author a couple little pieces of that legislation, so i feel a
sense of ownership which he actually signed. the president signed into law the act of 1990. i just want to mention a couple of things. on the friday after thanksgivink to a couple of weeks ago -- here in our nation's capital, 13 federal agencies released a major report laying out the alarming impact that climate change is having on our environment, our public health, our economic growth, and our weather. i never thought i would see the day when we were measuring rainfall by the foot instead of by the inches. i never thought i would be seeing wildfires out in california, be montana, washington state, oregon, that were bigger than my state of delaware. i never thought i would see this many category five hurricanes. i thought i would never see like two 500-year floods in ellicott city, maryland, just a short ways up the road here. they didn't come every 500
years. they came one year after the other. i never thought i would see that kind of weather. these federal agencies put out a major report a couple of weeks ago laying out the sum of those alarming impacts that climate change is having on our environment and public health, for economic growth on our weather. that report is known as the national climate assessment. as it turns out, it's put out every four years as a result of an act signed in 1990. that is called the global change research act. global change research act of 1990. who signed it? why it was president george herbert walker bush who signed it into law all those years ago. the 41st president raised the alarm decades ago about the threat posed by what he referred to as the ozone hole. that's what he called it, the ozone hole. the clean air act of 1990, which he signed into law, as i mentioned earlier, helped to implement the montreal protocol, the landmark international treaty to deal with the problem that's widely regarded as a
success. the protocol is widely regarded as a success. the treaty is widely regarded as a success. a couple years after that, he helped form the united nations framework. i think he was our ambassador to the united nations. he formed the convention on climate change which has now been embraced by virtually every nation on earth and is taking place this very week in poland, countries from throughout the world are there. and i mentioned earlier, the 1990 clean air act amendments which turned out to be one of the our most important environmental laws that we have on our books in this country. that law enabled the government to control nearly 200 toxic substances, 200 toxic substances present in our air and pose threats to human health. that same law paved the way for clean running cars and clean
fuels that have dramatically reduced pollution from smog. i can remember when i was in the navy spending part of the summer in long beach naval station on a big jumbo tanker, and i remember running out there close to l.a. in the summer in the late 1960's, and remember some days i ran, i felt i was doing more damage to my lungs than i was doing good for my body running and breathing that kind of air. air in california was awful. it's not perfect today, but it's a whole lot better except when there is all these fires that they have it pout up with. according to the -- they have to put up with. according to the e.p.a. in the first years of its enactment it prevented 160,000 premature deaths, reduced illnesses and diseases relating to air pollution. $2 trillion in overall economic
benefits. mr. president, i will end with this, back in february 1990 president bush said this about our changing climate. i want to quote him. he said we all know that human activities are changing the atmosphere. our atmosphere in unexpected and unprecedented ways. he went on to say much remains to be done. many questions remain to be answered. together we have a responsibility to ourselves and the generations to come to fulfill our stewardship obligations. those are his words. those words and the position action that he took and the work that his administration did on this front show real leadership, maybe the courage to stay out of step when everyone else is marching to the wrong tune and willingness to step up to the unprecedented challenges before us. he lived to be 94 and was active
and vibrant almost to the end. i think a number of us have had the opportunity to serve as governor with both of his sons and to know them as friends and as leaders of our country. so the legacy of their dad lives on through the children that he and barbara helped to raise. but we miss his personality, we miss his warmth and good humor. we miss his affection, and we miss his leadership. and i hope that our colleagues, certainly me, i hope that we can learn from the example and learn again over and over again from the example that he set. do the right thing. do the right thing even when it's not easy. with that, tennessee. a senator: thank you, mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: i'm delighted to