Pence: George H.W. Bush 'Never Failed to Answer the Call to Serve His Country'

December 3, 2018

Vice President Mike Pence on Monday honored former President George H.W. Bush, who passed away last week, and offered condolences on behalf of the nation to Bush's family.

"While he was known as the 'quiet man,' it was not for lack of nerve or daring," Pence said of the 41st commander in chief. "For in all of his 94 years, President Bush never lost his love of adventure and he never failed to answer the call to serve his country."

Pence joined Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) at the U.S. Capitol, where Bush is lying in state, to deliver remarks remembering the 41st president before the Bush family and several lawmakers and other dignitaries.

"The Bible tells us to mourn with those who mourn, and grieve with those who grieve," Pence said. "And today, on behalf of the First Family, and my family, and the American people, we offer our deepest sympathies and respects to your family. And we thank you for sharing this special man with our nation and the world."

Pence discussed Bush's life and how he enlisted to fight in World War II on his 18th birthday and became the nation's youngest naval aviator. During his service, Bush was nearly killed after his aircraft was hit and caught on fire. Bush managed to hit his target and was later rescued by American forces. He went on to fly 58 combat missions.

Later in his speech, Pence talked about Bush serving as former President Ronald Reagan's vice president, before serving as president for one term.

"But as history records, during those years he set the standard as a sound counselor and loyal adviser to an outsider who came to Washington, D.C. to shake things up, to cut taxes, rebuild the military. And together, they did just that," Pence said. "And then, in 1988, he made history again when George Herbert Walker Bush was elected in a landslide as the 41st president of the United States of America, becoming the first sitting vice president to win the presidency in more than 150 years of our history."

"He [Bush] served during an uncertain time in the world, made momentous by his leadership. President Bush oversaw the fall of the Soviet Union, the crumbling of the Berlin Wall, and under his leadership, America won the Cold War," Pence continued. "He took our nation to war to repel aggression in the Persian Gulf and, through his leadership as commander in chief and the brilliance of our armed forces, the United States won a decisive victory."

Pence then praised Bush's leadership and dedication to his family and friends.

"When President George Herbert Walker Bush left office, he left America and the world more peaceful, prosperous, and secure," Pence said. "President Bush was a great leader who made a great difference in the life of this nation. But he was also just a good man who was devoted to his wife, his family, and his friends."

Later in his speech, Pence reflected on Bush sending his son, Michael Pence, a first lieutenant in the Marines, a package that included a signed picture of the U.S.S. George H.W. Bush flight deck and a letter after the younger Pence made his first tailhook landing on the aircraft carrier named after the 41st president.

"Though we have not met, I share the pride your father has for you during this momentous occasion," Bush wrote. "And I wish you many CAVU days ahead."

CAVU stands for Ceiling and Visibility Unlimited, an acronym used by Navy pilots dating back to World War II to describe the ideal weather for flying.