By: Sarah Weihert of the Lake Mills Leader

When a notable public figure passes away, especially a former president, I think we all take a moment to breath, think back and remember.

I don’t remember George H.W. Bush from his time in the White House, I was born the year before he assumed the presidency, but I do remember him.

I did realize as a I sat down to write this that I didn’t know that much about him, so I did what any intrepid journalist of Millennial age would do. I Googled him.

I was impressed to learn Bush postponed his university studies after the attack on Pearl Harbor to enlist in the United States Navy on his 18th birthday. He became one of the youngest aviators in the Navy. After the war he attended Yale and moved to Texas where he became a millionaire in the oil business by the age of 40.

Before becoming President, Bush was a U.S. Representative, Ambassador, Director of Central Intelligence and the 43rd Vice President of the United States under President Ronald Ragan.

After leaving office in 1993, Bush was active—often alongside his former opponent Bill Clinton—in humanitarian activities. With George W. Bush’s victory in the 2000 presidential election, Bush and his son became the second father–son pair to serve as president, following John Adams and John Quincy Adams. Bush’s second son, Jeb Bush, served as the 43rd Governor of Florida and sought the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.

Gov. Scott Walker ordered flags at half-staff through Dec. 30 in honor of the former President and said in 1988 he cast his first vote for President for him. “I am proud of that vote today. He was a true gentleman and our country is better because of his service. Tonette and I send our love and prayers to the Bush family as America mourns the loss of one of our greatest patriots.”

Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner issued a statement Dec. 1, including a picture of him with George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush and Cheryl Sensenbrenner saying, “My deepest condolences go out to the Bush family, and I join our nation in mourning the passing of George H.W. Bush.

The former president was a heroic veteran, accomplished statesman, and lifelong public servant whose sense of duty and devotion to our country stands as a shining example for all.

He lived a remarkable life, and our nation is stronger today because of him. I am grateful for his contributions to society and will keep his loved ones in my prayers. May he rest in peace.”

Sen. Ron Johnson said, “Throughout his life, George H.W. Bush fought for freedom and prosperity for all Americans. From his service in World War II as a naval aviator to his efforts organizing international disaster relief, the nation and world will never forget his years of public service.”

Perhaps he is best remembered by his oldest son, “George H. W. Bush was a man of the highest character and the best dad a son or daughter could ask for,” George W. Bush wrote in a statement. “The entire Bush family is deeply grateful for 41’s life and love, for the compassion of those who have cared and prayed for Dad, and for the condolences of our friends and fellow citizens.”

His last words to his son were, “I love you, too.”

Bush decided not to go to the hospital in his final hours and said he was ready to be with his wife Barbara who died in April, and their daughter Robin, who died of leukemia as a child.

Looking back at our lives here in Lake Mills and the surrounding area, it reminds us to make the most of the time we have here with our loved ones. See family and friends more often, get together even if it is just for an evening, invite someone over who you think is lonely. Just try to put a smile on someone else’s face.

In his words, “I will keep America moving forward, always forward—for a better America, for an endless, enduring dream and a thousand points of light. This is my mission, and I will complete it.”

Mission accomplished Mr. President. Rest in peace.