"There is no definition of a successful life that does not include service to others." That from Dorothy (Doro) Bush Koch at the commissioning ceremony for the USS George H.W. Bush today in Norfolk, Virginia.
The ceremony began with a 21 gun salute.
Doro Bush Koch is the sponsor of the carrier, the last Nimitz class carrier for the last WWII veteran to serve as U.S. President. With the command, "Man our ship and bring her to life", the crowd of 20,000 watched as the first ever crew on the carrier ran to place and the carrier's bells and whistles, as they were called, sounded. A diamond formation of Hornets did a flyover and a surprise for the former president, a pass over by a Venture bomber - the one he flew as an 18 year old volunteer.
The best part? Secretary Bob Gates getting revenge on Doonesbury cartoonist Trudeau for the scum that he is - he told a story of the time when Trudeau was going thru the President Skippy phase and that to parody the insulting comics of the President, Gates, Brent Scowcroft and others waited one day for the President to leave the Oval Office and took a photo of them in animated conversations with the empty chair. Then they presented it to President Bush in a frame and autographed with inscription. Bush took it a step further and barged into the White House press room and demanded to know from the reporters about this conspiracy going on. Secretary Gates was very entertaining.
Gates was quite strong on his respect and friendship with the Bushes and the "decent and modest public servant I know." He spoke of times when the former president would attend gatherings and shake hands with members of the military as they came back from duty - and of how Bush frequently had to go through the line a bit quickly so as to get through it without breaking down with his trademark emotion. Gates referred to him as a "man of feeling."
Current President Bush lightened the speeches up a bit by opening with a question, "What do you give a guy who has everything he needs? You give him an aircraft carrier." He referred to his father as an example that "truest strength can come from the gentlest soul." It brought to mind the vicious Time or Newsweek cover that declared on the cover that then President Bush was a wimp. The word in bold large type.
From age 18, when he was old enough to volunteer for military service until present day, former President Bush continues to serve his country. It is safe to say his shoes have not been filled, as of present time, by anyone since. His greatest strength? Personal humility.
He continues to inspire.