George H.W. Bush turned 94 on Tuesday, officially becoming the longest-living president in U.S. history. The elder Bush was in Kennebunkport, Maine, celebrating his big day with several of his children, the Washington Post reports. Bush wrote a letter for the occasion, which is a bit safer than how he used to celebrate (when he would skydive at age 90 to mark the day). His office shared the letter from the president.
“My heart is full on the first day of my 95th year,” he wrote. “As many of you know, for years I have said the three most important things in life are faith, family and friends. My faith has never been stronger.” One of the children who happened to be by his side was none other than former President George W. Bush, who shared a heartwarming picture of the Presidents George to his Instagram account, saying, “I’m a lucky man to be named for George Bush and to be with ’41’ on his 94th birthday.”
It has been a whirlwind for the elder Bush. This birthday comes only eight days after the former president was released from a Maine hospital, where he had stayed for a week to be treated for low blood pressure and fatigue. Not only that, four days ago on June 8 would have been his late wife Barbara’s 93rd birthday. The former first lady died April 17 of this year.
As the fourth child out of six in the Bush family, son Neil, a businessman and investor, wrote an article in USA Today to mark his father’s big day, saying “George H.W. Bush is now 94. Follow his example of volunteer service to make our nation stronger, kinder and more united. Be a point of light.” He had more to say, trying to inspire others in the way he feels his father has done.
“Long before he got involved in politics, my father was a volunteer — starting the United Negro College Fund on his college campus; helping to launch the YMCA in Midland, Texas; coaching an inner-city baseball team in Houston; and with my mother, starting the Bright Star Foundation to aid in leukemia research after my sister died.” He then noted that his father never stopped giving back, continuing to do so even after leaving the White House. He noted his favorite was his father partnering up with former President Bill Clinton to raise money for tsunami and hurricane victims.
While former President George H.W. Bush didn’t want any presents, perhaps if more people embrace some of the values he adhered to, it could be the best gift of all.