I admit it.
Until recently, I took for granted the legacy of George H.W. Bush. In the 1980s, I voted for him as part of the Reagan ticket. I also voted for him for President. I knew him as a long-time politician and patrician. I knew he was a contemporary of my parents and like my dad, served in World War II.
It was when I read Flags of Our Fathers a decade ago that a new view of George Bush emerged. The book detailed his war record, his rescue in the Pacific, and his deep sense of grief for the loss of his fellow pilots 50 years previous. The author also wrote about Bush’s deep-rooted loyalty and love for his family, and the reciprocity by them.
This was never more evident that at his funeral last week. While there was much adulation for his public service, the memories and stories of him as a family man and human were ubiquitous. His care and concern for people crossed party lines and was seen clearly in the faces of his family and friends.
Then my mind did a crazy thing as it often does; I thought about another funeral that gets recreated this time each year. One of my all-time favorite movies is Charles Dickens’ The Christmas Carol. In my mind, I pictured the Patrick Stewart-played Scrooge attending the funeral of his business partner Jacob Marley. Outside of the Reverend and one other, Scrooge was the only attendee. We know the rest of the story.
Here’s my point: we all traverse life with the constant opportunity to touch people and change lives. Marley and Scrooge (until his reclamation) chose to be selfish; to be uncivil; and to bring sadness and despair in their “touch.” Bush was clearly a husband, father, and grandfather first. In spite of what must have been an incredibly busy life, he found the ability to touch his family, his colleagues from both parties, and his friends in incredible ways.
Whether one cared for George H.W. Bush as President, there seems to be nary a person that didn’t respect and like him as a human. Bottom line: this season of the year is always a good time for reflection. Watching the Bush funeral reminds me to continue to set high standards not only on myself professionally, but even more so as a human. I hope this brief memo might cause you to do the same.
After all, as Jacob Marley reminds us, “mankind is our business.”
Quote of the Day:
“There is nothing new in the world except the history you don’t know.”
~ Harry S. Truman
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