The Lord called Barbara Bush home last night. She was 92 years young. The country truly has lost an American icon. She was the matriarch of the most successful American political dynasty in modern history. She was the helm of the entire Bush family ship. I want to take just a few minutes to celebrate Mrs. Bush and her amazing life.
Barbara Pierce was born in Manhattan in 1925. When she was 16, she met the man she’d one day spend the rest of her life with. George H.W. Bush was her first kiss, and they began their adventure together in 1945. They married while George was on leave during World War II. This past January, Barbara and George celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary. That makes them the longest married couple in US presidential history.
After the war, the Bush's moved around a lot. TWENTY-NINE TIMES to be exact. They eventually settled in Texas, and it was there that tragedy first tested the Bush family. Their daughter, Robin, died of Leukemia in 1953. She was only three years old. Barbara Bush said, “I was combing her hair and holding her hand. I saw that little body, I saw her spirit go.”
Barbara and George persevered. In the end, they proudly boasted six children, 14 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. They were successful in everything they did. First, the Texas oil business, and then politics. Barbara would become the Second Lady from 1981 to 1989, First Lady from 1989 to 1993 and the mother to the president from 2001 to 2009.
In the end, I’m sure she saw her family as her greatest achievement.
For many Gen X’ers, Barbara Bush was the FIRST First Lady they remember. Her look was iconic. Everyone remembers the white hair and pearls. Barbara said her hair was never colored due to her intense love of the outdoors and swimming. She was always outside enjoying nature. Barbara flashed her granddaughter, Jenna, a sly grin and told her that her signature pearls were “to cover the wrinkles, which they no longer do. You can’t wear pearls all over your face.”
Barbara’s crusade over the years has been universal literacy, and she founded the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. She holds honorary degrees from five different universities.
But in the end, I’m sure she saw her family as her greatest achievement. To quote Barbara one more time, “I’ve been the luckiest woman in the world, truthfully, and I know it.”