George gentler nation.” In his Inaugural Address

George Bush brought to the White House a dedication to traditional American
values and a determination to direct them toward making the United States
“a kinder and gentler nation.” In his Inaugural Address he pledged in
“a moment rich with promise” to use American strength as “a force
for good.” Coming from a family with a tradition of public service, George
Herbert Walker Bush felt the responsibility to make his contribution both in
time of war and in peace. Born in Milton, Massachusetts, on June 12, 1924, he
became a student leader at Phillips Academy in Andover. On his 18th birthday he
enlisted in the armed forces. The youngest pilot in the Navy when he received
his wings, he flew 58 combat missions during World War II. On one mission over
the Pacific as a torpedo bomber pilot he was shot down by Japanese antiaircraft
fire and was rescued from the water by a U. S. submarine. He was awarded the
Distinguished Flying Cross for bravery in action. Bush next turned his energies
toward completing his education and raising a family. In January 1945 he married
Barbara Pierce. They had six children–George, Robin (who died as a child), John
(known as Jeb), Neil, Marvin, and Dorothy. At Yale University he excelled both
in sports and in his studies; he was captain of the baseball team and a member
of Phi Beta Kappa. After graduation Bush embarked on a career in the oil
industry of West Texas. Like his father, Prescott Bush, who was elected a
Senator from Connecticut in 1952, George became interested in public service and
politics. He served two terms as a Representative to Congress from Texas. Twice
he ran unsuccessfully for the Senate. Then he was appointed to a series of
high-level positions: Ambassador to the United Nations, Chairman of the
Republican National Committee, Chief of the U. S. Liaison Office in the People’s
Republic of China, and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. In 1980 Bush
campaigned for the Republican nomination for President. He lost, but was chosen
as a running mate by Ronald Reagan. As Vice President, Bush had responsibility
in several domestic areas, including Federal deregulation and anti-drug
programs, and visited scores of foreign countries. In 1988 Bush won the
Republican nomination for President and, with Senator Dan Quayle of Indiana as
his running mate, he defeated Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis in the
general election. Bush faced a dramatically changing world, as the Cold War
ended after 40 bitter years, the Communist empire broke up, and the Berlin Wall
fell. The Soviet Union ceased to exist; and reformist President Mikhail Gor
bachev, whom Bush had supported, resigned. While Bush hailed the march of
democracy, he insisted on restraint in U. S. policy toward the group of new
nations. In other areas of foreign policy, President Bush sent American troops
into Panama to overthrow the corrupt regime of General Manuel Noriega, who was
threatening the security of the canal and the Americans living there. Noriega
was brought to the United States for trial as a drug trafficker. Bush’s greatest
test came when Iraqi President Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, then threatened to
move into Saudi Arabia. Vowing to free Kuwait, Bush rallied the United Nations,
the U. S. people, and Congress and sent 425,000 American troops. They were
joined by 118,000 troops from allied nations. After weeks of air and missile
bombardment, the 100-hour land battle dubbed Desert Storm routed Iraq’s
million-man army. Despite unprecedented popularity from this military and
diplomatic triumph, Bush was unable to withstand discontent at home from a
faltering economy, rising violence in inner cities, and continued high deficit
spending. In 1992 he lost his bid for reelection to Democrat William Clinton.


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