There's so much to know about George H.W. Bush, the 41st president, who died late Friday evening, and who will be remembered Wednesday with a national day of mourning.
If you're an entrepreneur or a business owner, it's a good time to remember that he was one, too -- that he set aside his family's blue blood roots in New England for Texas, where he got into the oil industry and became a self-made millionaire by age 40, all before going into politics.
My favorite story about Bush comes from his time in World War II, when he enlisted right after high school and wound up becoming the youngest fighter pilot in the U.S. Navy, at just 19 years old.
The late author Richard Ben Cramer wrote in his 1992 book, What It Takes, that Bush's shipmates knew he was from a privileged background, and they were amused by how hard he worked to get along, be friendly, and act like just one of the guys.
Everybody on the ship got a nickname, but Bush's shipmates insisted on always calling him by his full, four-part, six syllable name.
Stan Butchart was, naturally, Butch; Milt Moore, their first replacement pilot, was renamed Gracie ... even the revered Skipper Melvin got a handle ... behind his back he was Mortimer. That was the way it had to be on a ship like that.
Bush was a good Joe, no stickler for rank. That was the point about [his] nickname: it was like calling a bald guy Curly ...
His four names, his school boys' slang, his Big-Family-Back-East roots ... he was trying so hard to be not that way. He was so eager to be a friend to all ... that they just had to stick him with it: George Herbert Walker Bush."
Rest in peace, President George Herbert Walker Bush.
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