Here is the text of the presidential proclamation announcing the death of George H.W. Bush:

It is my sorrowful duty to announce officially the death of George Herbert Walker Bush, the forty-first President of the United States, on November 30, 2018.

President Bush led a great American life, one that combined and personified two of our Nation’s greatest virtues: an entrepreneurial spirit and a commitment to public service. Our country will greatly miss his inspiring example.

On the day he turned 18, 6 months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, George H.W. Bush volunteered for combat duty in the Second World War. The youngest aviator in United States naval history at the time, he flew 58 combat missions, including one in which, after taking enemy fire, he parachuted from his burning plane into the Pacific Ocean. After the war, he returned home and started a business. In his words, “the big thing” he learned from this endeavor was “the satisfaction of creating jobs.”

The same unselfish spirit that motivated his business pursuits later inspired him to resume the public service he began as a young man. First, as a member of Congress, then as Ambassador to the United Nations, Chief of the United States Liaison Office in China, Director of Central Intelligence, Vice President, and finally President of the United States, George H.W. Bush guided our Nation through the Cold War, to its peaceful and victorious end, and into the decades of prosperity that have followed. Through sound judgment, practical wisdom, and steady leadership, President Bush made safer the second half of a tumultuous and dangerous century.

Even with all he accomplished in service to our Nation, President Bush remained humble. He never believed that government — even when under his own leadership — could be the source of our Nation’s strength or its greatness. America, he rightly told us, is illuminated by “a thousand points of light,” “ethnic, religious, social, business, labor union, neighborhood, regional and other organizations, all of them varied, voluntary and unique” in which Americans serve Americans to build and maintain the greatest Nation on the face of the Earth. President Bush recognized that these communities of people are the true source of America’s strength and vitality.

It is with great sadness that we mark the passing of one of America’s greatest points of light, the death of President George H.W. Bush.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, in honor and tribute to the memory of President George H.W. Bush, and as an expression of public sorrow, do hereby direct that the flag of the United States be displayed at half-staff at the White House and on all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions for a period of 30 days from the day of his death. I also direct that, for the same length of time, the representatives of the United States in foreign countries shall make similar arrangements for the display of the flag at half staff over their embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.

I hereby order that suitable honors be rendered by units of the Armed Forces under orders of the Secretary of Defense.

I do further appoint December 5, 2018, as a National Day of Mourning throughout the United States. I call on the American people to assemble on that day in their respective places of worship, there to pay homage to the memory of President George H.W. Bush. I invite the people of the world who share our grief to join us in this solemn observance.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand eighteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-third.


11 Responses to “On the death of George H.W. Bush”

  1. Vulture says:

    George Bush raised millions of dollars for the Cancer hospital that my mom was treated at.  What a tough act to follow.  But we can try.

  2. Barry McCockiner says:

    HW was a real man.  Not one of these watered down versions of men we have today.  Godspeed, sir.

  3. Robert Lyons says:

    A true statesman, hero, and patriot.  Regrettably, though, one of the last.

  4. stewie says:

    Voted against the Civil Rights Act.
    Just saying.

  5. Anon says:

    I’d be interested if you can point to what Civil Rights Act former President George H.W. Bush “voted” against.  I think you’ll be hard pressed to find one.  He did “veto” a Civil Rights Act in 1990 over concerns that the disparate impact portions of the bill would amount to encouraging a quota system, and offered to support alternate legislation that Congress passed in 1991.  
    Just saying.

  6. stewie says:

    I was technically incorrect, he was against the 1964 Civil Rights Act as a Senatorial Candidate in that same year.
    He said it was “”politically inspired and is bad legislation in that it transcends the Constitution.”He also said “The new civil rights act was passed to protect 14% of the people. I’m also worried about the other 86%.”
    The Willie Horton ad was also during his presidential campaign.
    and of course, no the 1990 or 1991 acts did not remotely require “quotas” which is always the go-to argument for opposing civil rights bills or affirmative action (which also explicitly does not require or allow “quotas”). In fact, after getting criticized for vetoing the 1990 Act, he signed the 91 Act which wasn’t fundamentally different, at least certainly not in the manner that one was for quotas and the other wasn’t.
    Point is, he had good qualities and bad qualities. He did good things and bad things. Certainly, by comparison, he ranks much higher, but there are other parts we should be aware of and recognize. And yes the same will be true of the Presidents that follow him to varying degrees.  See e.g. President Clinton and the strong racial implications of the crime bill he signed.

  7. Anon says:

    Stewie — I like how you are able to summarize the latest opinion piece from USA Today.  Great job.  A few things you left out:
    (1) President later explicitly stated he regretted the campaign statements he made about the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and if you examine many of his other public statements he was remarkably ahead of his party, for example his positive statements in support of immigrants when he ran against Reagan;
    (2) The Willie Horton ad was not aired by the Bush campaign, it was an independent Political Action Committee.  (This is before Citizens United allowed “Super PACs” that are linked to individual candidates, although not legally controlled by them.)  President Bush did, however, criticize Mike Dukakis for the prison furlough policy, but he never referenced Willie Horton’s race.
    (3) Your statement on the causation of President Bush supporting the 1991 Civil Rights Act makes the “after this, therefore because of this” fallacy.  The reality is that President Bush supported civil rights legislation with minor differences to the bill he vetoed.  He was never against enhancing civil rights protections for minority in general.  The 1991 Act was beneficial to minorities in that it overruled Supreme Court interpretations of Title VII that made it difficult to prove a disparate impact theory of discrimination.  (
    (4) The absolutism (“always”) of your statements about quotas and affirmative action are simply inaccurate.  It wasn’t until Justice Powell’s opinion in Regents of CA v. Bakke (1978) that five justices of the Supreme Court agreed that quotas violate Title VII and equal protection.  Whether particular affirmative action policies amount to a racial quota is an important aspect of evaluating the lawfulness of any affirmative action program.  A law may not explicitly provide for quotas but may encourage the use of quotas to avoid litigation, which was the concern President Bush articulated.  His concern may have been subject to criticism, but it did not amount to a generic opposition to civil rights legislation–which is what your original post implied.
    Then there’s the question of poor taste in timing of your original post.  President George H.W. Bush’s death has been largely an opportunity for an expression of national unity in polarized times, which was recognized by most leaders of the major political parties who set aside their differences.  Your effort to inaccurately criticize President Bush for voting against civil rights legislation (which he never did) was simply trolling.  
    Just saying.
    You can have the last word if you want, I’m done.

  8. stewie says:

    1. Those comments have been reported in multiple places, not just USA Today. Of course, you don’t bother to comment on the substance but simply say “you pulled that from USA Today” and “well he apologized for it” as if that somehow addresses it. I’m sure Bill Clinton regrets the Crime Bill he signed, doesn’t make it any less racially problematic. Not does it remove the issue Bush had in his statements and stance on the seminal Civil Rights Act of 1964. Being positive in other areas doesn’t remove it either. Clinton was positive in other areas too, but he also embraced some problematic things as well. Like I said, a mixed bag.
    2. Are you seriously arguing that a presidential candidate does not have control over ads aired for their campaign? That saying, oh it wasn’t me, it was a PAC supporting me absolves of all responsibility. But let’s say that’s true…did President Bush say, oh my goodness, that ad is racist, shut it down right now and I disavow this ad. Let’s ask his campaign manager, Lee Atwater…”By the time we’re finished, they’re going to wonder whether Willie Horton is Dukakis’ running mate.” Let me suggest to you that if your campaign manager says that, and you routinely discuss it during your campaign speeches (which Bush did) you probably don’t have a problem with the ad, and you are responsible for the ad. And it was an objectively racist ad with objectively racist intent that President Bush absolutely signed off on or at best blessed of on after the fact.
    3. This is a goal-post moving response. You say “he didn’t support the 90 act because there were quotas in it.” I say, no, there were no quotas in the 90 Act or the 91 Act he did sign that had minor differences in it. You respond with, the bill had minor differences in it and Bush always supported civil rights protections (except you know the seminal 64 Act that started it off, and the 90 bill he got a lot of criticism for opposing). So, to sum up…there were minor differences between the two, they had nothing to do with quotas (which as you note were ILLEGAL as of the 78 Bakke decsion or 12 years prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1990), he vetoed the first one, got heavy criticism for it and in 1991 he signed more or less the same thing he’d previously vetoed in an election year (because a year out is effectively an election year in our politics).
    4.  Affirmative action as a legal process (for want of a better word) didn’t even arise in the US until the early 60s. It played out in executive orders, none of which remotely involved quotas. Some entities (usually but not always universities) did attempt to meet the spirit of affirmative action via the lazy use of quotas (here, we will set aside 10 spots for Blacks, happy now?), and the court cases correctly stopped that practice 40 years ago, and 12 years before the civil rights act of 90. Nevertheless, despite quotas never being actually part of affirmative action, the bogeyman of quotas has been used to stamp out affirmative action every time it’s used, regardless of how it is used. It’s also been used to justify going against civil rights legislation.
    Let’s sum up. You say he never voted against civil rights legislation except the reality is he patently did vote against one, and came out clearly and explicitly against another and then he ran and ran for President on an explicitly racist ad that has become the go to ad for all future racist ads. (I haven’t even mentioned the racist covenant in his 1950s lease barring sale to non-whites except for the servant quarters because I realize that often those kind of covenants were more or less standard language in lease contracts for the time and thus gave him the benefit of the doubt there)
    You give a reason for the vote, which isn’t true (please point out the part of the 90 bill (that you admit had minor differences from the 91 bill he signed) that set up quotas). It should be easy since one assume it was the “quotas” that were the “minor difference.” You don’t bother giving a reason/excuse for the 64 position, just noting that he apologized for it. But even though there are two areas where he was against civil rights protections, you state he was never against enhancing civil rights protections generally. OK, I didn’t say he was Strom Thurmond. Bill Clinton isn’t either, but he has things that go in the “bad column” and things that go in the “good column.”
    National unity does not require deification. It does not require extolling the perfection of a deceased leader. It can withstand an honest examination and critique. The fact that we live in hyper-polarization should not result in us rushing into embracing myths and rose-colored beliefs. In fact, I’d argue it’s this kind of thinking that is partially responsible for hyper-polarization. The inability to see gray. To only see things as black or white, good or evil, just or unjust. Bush should get credit for his service to country. He should be given credit as from my perspective the last republican President able to compromise with the other party in pursuit of common goals. The arrival of Newt Gingrich as a leader right after Clinton’s victory began us down a path of polarization to what we have today.
    But he shouldn’t be deified, or turned into a paragon anymore than any of the other Presidents. He had serious flaws too. And really, it’s ok to admit that and not try to explain it away. Same is going to happen with Clinton, and Bush, and yes even Obama (although of all of those, Obama probably had the least number of personal flaws, his tended to be more political/leadership).
    But you are right, I have little interest in playing along with the canonization of President Bush (or any President). So if you want to call that “trolling” feel free. I call it something else, the truth. And the truth is, like all Presidents and leaders, he was a mix of black and white (pun intended).

  9. Lone Bear says:

    Time and place gents, this is a time to honor and remember a life well-lived.  Despite my progressive views, I can raise my glass to a great man, patriot, and father.  It’s okay to be decent and say nice things, even if you disagree with some ones views. 

  10. Shawn says:

    In many ways, HW and W remind me of 2 and 6.  Can the similarity in familial names be mere coincidence?  Both HW and NMI sired political dynasties long steeped in public service.  Both served amid controversy and neither won reelection.  There’s more, but the point is that both sires were great statesmen, rare today.  It is an instance where history might not repeat, but rhymes.

  11. stewie says:

    This isn’t his funeral, we aren’t writing a eulogy. It’s an internet message board to discuss intellectual issues. Seems like an appropriate time and place to have honest discussion. It’s absolutely ok to say nice things, it’s also ok to talk about not so nice things. It’s not partisan to do so, every Democrat President so far has their own mixed bag too.