The national news media – and later his own family – called him Bush 41 because his son, Bush 43, followed him to the White House.
When he died Friday at age 94, that sad news was communicated to his family and closest friends with a single code word, CAVU, an acronym familiar to pilots that stands for 'ceiling and visibility unlimited.'
That phrase was how former President George Herbert Walker Bush described his privileged life as a husband, father, Navy pilot, oil tycoon, congressman, vice president, and the 41st president of the United States.
CNN's Jamie Gangel reported their use of the acronym, adding that Bush had a plaque in his office with the word.
'He always felt it represented his life,' Gangel said. 'The sky was the limit, and he had everything.'
His eldest son, former president George W. Bush, issued the following statement to announce the elder Bush’s death: 'Jeb, Neil, Marvin, Doro, and I are saddened to announce that after 94 remarkable years, our dear Dad has died. George H. W. Bush was a man of the highest character and the best
dad a son or daughter could ask for.
“The entire Bush family is deeply grateful for 41’s life and love, for the compassion of those who have cared and prayed for Dad, and for the condolences of our friends and fellow citizens.'
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump said in a statement that Bush “inspired generations of his fellow Americans to public service” and “his example lives on and will continue to stir future Americans to pursue a greater cause.”
Trump’s personal aircraft, Air Force One, was used to transport the former president’s body to Washington to lie in state at the Capitol.
In our view, President Trump’s respectful reaction was what most Americans expect of the person who occupies the White House.
In fact, our current president would be well served to model the rest of his term on the grace, dignity and bi-partisanship shown by George H. W. Bush during his lifetime of service to the United States.