Kashmeri: George Bush Senior Remembrance

Dec 5, 2018

Much has been written on the death of George Herbert Walker Bush. He was a statesman, a president, a kind man who loved his family, gracious and unpretentious to a fault. He forged personal relationships with dozens of world leaders who responded to him as a trusted friend and ally.

So when Iraq's leader, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, Mr. Bush put together a military alliance the likes of which had rarely been seen before, and he did it all using his rolodex and telephone. Arabs joined Europeans and Americans in this alliance to fight together under an America general to defeat an Arab dictator.

The allies basked in the glory of a quick victory and wrote out checks to pay America for its military expenses.

My own small interaction with this remarkable man left me with yet another memory of him - that of consideration and respect for others. It was at a dinner at which he was to be honored with an award, and it fell to me to escort him through a crowded dining room to his seat before I was to go onto the podium to introduce him.

As he entered the elevator, a sizable entourage squeezed in after him, leaving me outside. I was so distressed at potentially missing this possibly once in a lifetime opportunity to escort a U.S. President to his seat that my disappointment must have shown on my face.

So it was a double thrill when the President asked the Secret Service agent to hold the elevator, took hold of my shoulder, pulled me in saying they couldn’t possibly go on without - as he put it - “our fearless leader.” And to me, this small gesture showed the grace and thoughtfulness of a great man.

So yes, like millions of others I’ve been remembering a leader who made the world safer and made America a better country. But I am also reminded of that elevator and the tug, and the thoughtfulness that was hard wired into the DNA of this gentleman.