Houston Treasures

Barbara and President George H.W. Bush

Houston Treasure for 2004

Photo by: Alexander’s Fine Portrait Design

The Forty-first President of the United States

George Bush was elected President of the United States on November 8, 1988, sworn in on January 20, 1989, and served until January 20, 1993. During his term in office, the Cold War ended; the threat of nuclear war was drastically reduced; the Soviet Union ceased to exist, replaced by a democratic Russia; the Berlin Wall fell and Germany was reunified; Eastern Europe and the Baltic States all became free; and President Bush put together an unprecedented coalition of 32 nations to liberate Kuwait from Saddam Hussein’s brutal aggression, thus paving the way for Israel and her Arab neighbors at the Madrid Peace Conference to begin anew their quest for peace in the Middle East.

Mr. Bush was the first sitting Vice President to ascend to the Presidency since Martin van Buren in 1837, and he was also only the second American President to serve a full term without Party control in either chamber of Congress. Nevertheless, President Bush signed into law, among other things, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Clean Air Act-landmark civil rights, and environmental legislation. He also successfully fought for and negotiated the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which was later signed into law.

Since leaving office, President Bush has written two books-A World Transformed, co-authored with General Brent Scowcroft, on foreign policy during his administration, and All The Best, a collection of letters written throughout his life. He has visited 56 foreign countries, most of the 50 states and has helped to raise millions of dollars for a variety of charitable organizations. President Bush serves on the Board of Visitors of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas and is honorary chairman of the Points of Light Foundation.

On November 6, 1997, The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum was opened to the public. Along with the George Bush School of Government and Public Service, the Library is located on the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. It is the tenth Presidential Library in existence.

President Bush’s career in politics and public service began in 1963, when he was elected Chairman of the Harris County (TX) Republican Party. After losing his first campaign for the United Sates Senate in 1964, he was elected in 1966 to the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas’ 7th District and served two terms. Mr. Bush accepted a series of senior level appointments following a second unsuccessful try for the Senate in 1970: U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (1971); Chairman of the Republican National Committee (1973); Chief of the U.S. Liaison Office in China (1974); and Director of Central Intelligence (1976).

In 1980, Mr. Bush lost his first bid for the Republican Presidential nomination to Ronald Reagan, but he later accepted a spot on the national ticket and served as Vice President from 1981 to 1989.

Born on June 12, 1924, in Milton, Massachusetts, George Bush became a decorated naval pilot who flew torpedo bombers during World War II. He then graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Yale University in 1948 with a degree in economics and moved to Texas where he began making his way in the oil business. President Bush has received numerous honorary degrees and, since retiring from public life, has been awarded high honors from such countries as Kuwait, the United Kingdom, the Federal Republic of Germany, Nicaragua, Poland, the Czech Republic and Saudi Arabia.

President and Mrs. Bush have five children and 14 grandchildren. They have been married 57 years and reside in Houston, Texas and Kennebunkport, Maine.

Barbara Pierce Bush

Barbara Bush often jokes that her successful life is a result of marrying well. Her husband’s service as Vice President and President of the United States offered her a unique opportunity to make a difference in the public eye, but since leaving the White House in 1993, this Former First Lady continues to serve others with the same tireless energy, goodwill and good humor that has endeared her to millions around the world.

Born Barbara Pierce, she grew up in Rye, New York, where she met and later married George Herbert Walker Bush on January 6, 1945. The Bush’s first daughter, Robin, died in 1953 after fighting Leukemia, but today the family includes four sons (George W., Jeb, Marvin and Neil); one daughter (Dorothy); four daughters-in-law; one son-in-law; and 14 grandchildren. Public service is a common thread in the Bush family. Their eldest son, George W., was sworn in as the nation’s 43rd President on January 20, 2001, and their second eldest son, Jeb, is currently serving as the Governor of Florida.

Throughout her years in public life, Mrs. Bush volunteered in and supported hundreds of charity and humanitarian causes. Today, she continues her service as AmeriCares ambassador-at-large; and supporter of various organizations, including the Leukemia Society of America, Ronald McDonald Houses, and the Boys & Girls Club of America.

Her number one cause, however, is family literacy. In 1990, she helped develop the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy whose mission is to support the development of family literacy programs; break the intergenerational cycle of illiteracy; and establish literacy as a value in every American family. She currently serves as honorary chair of the Foundation and hosts its annual fundraiser, “A Celebration of Reading.” To learn more about the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, visit their Web site at www.barbarabushfoundation.com.

Her involvement in the literacy cause does not end with her foundation. She regularly undertakes a myriad of projects and a rigorous appearance schedule designed to emphasize reading as a part of daily family life. By visiting literacy programs across the country-in schools, housing projects, organizations and businesses-she witnesses, first hand, the powerful impact reading has on self-esteem and family dynamics.

She authored C. Fred’s Story and the best-selling Millie’s Book, whose profits benefited the literacy cause, and most recently wrote Barbara Bush: A Memoir, her best-selling autobiography emphasizing the importance of family, faith and friends.

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