Memories of George H.W. Bush

Larry Kane
December 02, 2018 - 11:27 am
Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush arrives on the field to toss the coin before a game between the Houston Texans and the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, November 6, 2011, in Houston, Texas.

Photo by George Bridges/TNS/Sipa USA

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — As Washington prepares to honor the legacy of President Bush, here are some memories of him and what he was like up close. 

If you really want to know what George H.W. Bush was about, a book titled "All the Best: My Life in Letters and Other Writings," will tell you all you need to know. 

The 41st President wrote thousands of notes, some of them written by hand, filled with gratitude and outlining his incredible memories and the importance of enduring friendship.

Chats with him in person, twice at the White House, several times in Philadelphia, and the return of the American hostages from Iran, showed that he was very warm and filled with facts. He was the least formal of the ten presidents I interviewed, and the most friendly. 

Much to my surprise, during a White House coffee and dessert following a formal lunch, the first President Bush actually walked over to me and several other reporters, hands outstretched, asking if we wanted to chat on tape.  

He wasn't as smooth with crowds like the man who beat him in 1992, Bill Clinton, but one-on-one, he was warm and extremely genuine, exhibiting the same gratitude to others in those private letters he penned from the time he was 18. 

He was a hero in World War II, shot down near Japan, and narrowly escaped capture, but it's a story he never talked about until later in life.