June 12, 2012 marks the 88th birthday of former President George H.W. Bush. Summering in Kennebunkport, Maine at his family home, it is hard to imagine a resume of a more devoted public servant in modern American history.
On his eighteenth birthday, Bush enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He would serve as a combat pilot during World War II and had a brush with death when his plane was hit during a bombing run in the Pacific. He was able to escape the burning aircraft and would be quickly rescued by a submarine. After the war, he attended Yale University where he majored in economics. Bush later moved to Texas where he found success in the oil and petroleum industry.
In 1964, Bush ran an unsuccessful campaign for a U.S. Senate seat in Texas. Two years later, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and ultimately served two terms. Bush was later appointed to several important positions, including U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in 1971 and director of the Central Intelligence Agency in 1976.
Bush aspired to highest office in the United States but he failed to win his party's nomination for the presidency in 1980. However, he was chosen by Ronald Reagan to serve as his running mate. Reagan won the 1980 election and was re-elected in 1984 with Bush serving as his vice president for both terms.
Bush finally reached the White House in 1989. As president, he skillfully handled foreign affairs during a tumultuous time; Responding to the dissolve of the Soviet Union, the criminal acts of Manuel Noriega and the invasion of Kuwait by Iraqi forces. Despite his global successes, economic problems at home are blamed for the failure of his bid for re-election in 1992.
He continued with public service, working with former President Bill Clinton, at the request of his son, former President George W. Bush. He has been married to Barbara Bush since 1945. He is a devoted husband, father, and grandfather.
Happy Birthday, Mr. President. May you have many more.