George H. W. Bush Skydives At 90, And 5 Other Times He Inspired Us
Thursday marks George H. W. Bush's 90th birthday, and the former president celebrated like very few 90 year olds would — he went skydiving. Two years ago, Bush swore he'd skydive on his 90th birthday, and he kept that promise Thursday when he took a tandem jump from Walker's Point in Maine. Jumping from a plane takes enough courage as it is, but for a man who can't use his legs, it's inspiration at its purest. Actually, the man's been an inspiration his whole life. So, in celebration of George Bush Senior's milestone birthday, we're taking a look back.
The first thing you should know about Bush is that this wasn't his first time skydiving — far from it. It was his eighth. Apparently the extreme sport is one of his favorite ways to celebrate his birthday, as he had also spent his 75th, 80th, and 85th birthdays free-falling through the air. Two years ago, he told his granddaughter Jenna Bush Hager that he had one more left in him. And that he did, as he dove out of a helicopter from 6,000 feet up in the air like a boss.
He was guided to a gentle landing by his tandem instructor, Sgt. 1st Class Mike Elliott, a retired member of the Army's parachute team.
On Sunday, June 15, CNN will air a documentary about Bush called 41ON41 , based on interviews with 41 of his closest friends, family members, and colleagues. The movie focuses on the 41st president's lifelong dedication to public service, from the moment he heard about Pearl Harbor as a high school student to his post-presidential days as a humanitarian.
In his 90 extraordinary years, Bush has been a constant inspiration to those around him, not to mention the United States.
1. His Role In WWII
Bush began his life of service by enlisting in the U.S. Navy in 1941 on his 18th birthday. He was commissioned as an ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve at Corpus Christi, Texas three days before his 19th birthday, making him the youngest naval aviator to date.
2. His Disaster Relief
Though the two were once political rivals, Bush has been teaming up with former president Bill Clinton for over a decade in helping victims of hurricanes, tsunamis, and other natural disasters. Together they formed the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund and the Bush-Clinton Tsunami Fund and in 2006 jointly received the Philadelphia Liberty Medal for their work on disaster relief.
3. His Cancer Research Work
A long supporter of cancer research, Bush sent a touching public message last July when he shaved his head in solidarity with the 2-year-old son of a Secret Service member who had leukemia. It's a cause that's dear to his heart as he and his wife, Barbara, lost their second child, Robin, to leukemia when she was 4.
4. His Volunteering
In his first year of presidency, Bush started the Points of Light Foundation, which promotes the spirit of volunteerism. He also signed the National and Community Service Act of 1990, and his emphasis on volunteer work laid the groundwork for future presidents.
5. His Sense Of Humor
Besides a life of public service, Bush is also a daily inspiration with his healthy sense of humor, which he reveals glimpses of via his Twitter.
#socksupdate has got to be my new favorite hashtag.
And who can forget these gems from his presidency:
"I've told you I don't live and die by the polls. Thus, I will refrain from pointing out that we're not doing too bad in those polls," Bush told the New Republic in 1991.
"A recent poll tells why the people of New Hampshire are supporting George Bush. Forty percent like my foreign policy. Forty percent support my economic policy. And 20 percent believe I make a good premium beer," Bush said while campaigning for president in 1988.
"Let me give you a little serious political advice. One single word. Puppies. Worth the points," Bush quipped at a fundraising luncheon for congressional candidate Susan Molinari in Staten Island, New York in 1990.