Before he was president, Bush was a young naval flier who survived being shot down. The experience stayed with him for life
In 1942, at George Bush’s wartime graduation from his preparatory school, the speaker was Henry Stimson, the secretary of war. Stimson urged the graduates to enroll in college, to give them the skills to become officers. After the speech, Bush’s father asked if anything Stimson said had made him change his mind.
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They came to the navy as strangers, served the navy as shipmates and friends, and left the navy as brothers in eternity … You’ve always been strong for the sake of love. You must be heroically strong now, but you will find that love endures. It endures in the lingering memory of time together, in the embrace of a friend, in the bright, questioning eyes of a child.
And as for the children of the lost, throughout your lives you must never forget, your father was America’s pride. Your mothers and grandmothers, aunts and uncles are entrusted with the memory of this day. In the years to come, they must pass along to you the legacy of the men behind the guns. And to all who mourn … I can only offer you the gratitude of a nation, for your loved one served his country with distinction and honor. I hope that the sympathy and appreciation of all the American people provide some comfort. The true comfort comes from prayer and faith. And your men are under a different command now, one that knows no rank, only love, knows no danger, only peace. May God bless them all.”
John S Gardner, a writer in Alexandria, Virginia, served as special assistant to President George HW Bush and deputy assistant to President George W Bush
Link : ‘A different command’: how George HW Bush’s war shaped his work for peace