President George H.W. Bush, the 41st U.S. president and the father of the 43rd president, died last night.
There is no such thing as an uncontroversial president, but Bush emerged as an elder statesman in the 26 years after he left office, remembered best for his leadership of the United States at the end of the Cold War and his service spanning a life of 94 years.
The well-bred son of a U.S. senator, he was the youngest fighter pilot in the U.S. Navy in World War II. (My favorite story about Bush from this time period: He was so clearly eager to shed his patrician image during the war that his Navy shipmates teased him by always calling him by his full name: George Herbert Walker Bush.)
After the war, Bush moved to Texas to seek a fortune in the oil business. He eventually went into politics, serving in Congress, as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and as head of the CIA, before becoming vice president under Ronald Reagan and eventually president in his own right.
As we extend our condolences to Bush's family and friends, here are 17 of his quotes--from the profound to the controversial and the humorous--to remind us of the 41st president of the United States.
1. "There is nothing more fulfilling than to serve your country and your fellow citizens and to do it well."
2. "To all who mourn a son, a brother, a husband, a father, a friend -- I can only offer you the gratitude of a nation, for your loved one served his country with distinction and honor."
3. "Old guys can still do fun things."
4. "Read my lips: No new taxes."
5. "The day will come -- and it is not far off -- when the legacy of Lincoln will finally be fulfilled at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, when a black man or woman will sit in the Oval Office. When that day comes, the most remarkable thing about it will be how naturally it occurs."
6. "History will point out some of the things I did wrong and some of the things I did right."
7. "I do not like broccoli and I haven't liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I'm president of the United States and I'm not going to eat any more broccoli."
8. "Let me tell you, this gender thing is history. You're looking at a guy who sat down with Margaret Thatcher across the table and talked about serious issues."
9. "I'm conservative, but I'm not a nut about it."
10. "We are a nation of communities ... a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky."
11. "America is never wholly herself unless she is engaged in high moral principle. We as a people have such a purpose today. It is to make kinder the face of the nation and gentler the face of the world."
12. "America must always reject racial bigotry, anti-Semitism, and hatred in all forms. As we pray for Charlottesville, we are reminded of the fundamental truths recorded by that city's most prominent citizen in the Declaration of Independence: We are all created equal and endowed by our Creator with unalienable rights. We know these truths to be everlasting because we have seen the decency and greatness of our country."
13. "It's much worse to read criticism about your son than yourself."
14. "We don't want an America that is closed to the world. What we want is a world that is open to America."
15. "The USS George H.W. Bush is a great thing in my life. It's amazing. A great honor."
16. "We must act on what we know. I take as my guide the hope of a saint: In crucial things, unity; in important things, diversity; in all things, generosity."
17. "Never ask anyone over 70 how they feel. They'll tell you."
All right, one more: "Aging's all right. Better than the alternative, which is not being here."
Rest in peace, George H.W. Bush