Barbara Bush: A Legacy of Public Service

BB1.pngOn Tuesday, April 17, the world lost a remarkable woman with a monumental legacy. Barbara Bush, former first lady, mother, and philanthropist passed away at 92. She lived a life dedicated to both private and public service. At this difficult time our thoughts are with the Bush family, and want to celebrate the wonderful life Mrs. Bush lived.

Mrs. Bush stood her ground and advocated for what she believed to be right. During the presidential campaign in 1992, Barbara Bush stated that pro-life abortion policies should not be on the Republican platform. She faced enormous pushback for her opinion, especially due to her position as a matriarch of the Republican party.[1] She never retracted her statement that abortion should not be on the platform despite it being unpopular.

Mrs. Bush again faced controversy when asked to speak to the graduating class of 1990 at Wellesley College. A feminist group on campus protested Mrs. Bush since she chose to marry rather than graduate, and said she was only respected because of her husband. Mrs. Bush went anyway.[2]

She emphasized in her speech that a woman is free to choose her own path. For her, it was as a wife and mother. She closed her remarks with hope of a female president of the United States. Mrs. Bush led a life of courage to stand for her beliefs, and a dedication to encouraging future leaders.

BB2Mrs. Bush centered her life on service to her husband, her family, her community, and her nation. Mrs. Bush stood behind her husband during his lengthy political career. She also helped her sons during their political careers as governors of Texas and Florida, and as President of the United States.

Mrs. Bush lived life as a family-centered woman. She appreciated relationships, and served as an example to her own family and those around her. She stated it best when she said, “Never lose sight of the fact that the most important yardstick of your success will be how you treat other people – your family, friends, and coworkers, and even, strangers you meet along the way”. She exemplified living a life of selfless service.

BB3.pngIn addition to her service as a mother and grandmother, which should not be overlooked, she championed her personal causes. Mrs. Bush contributed to many different causes, especially the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. This organization, founded by Mrs. Bush, is dedicated to promoting the literacy of mothers, fathers, and children to help families have a brighter future. The Bush family has asked that instead of flowers for Mrs. Bush’s funeral, people donate to the foundation to commemorate her life.

She and her husband, George H. W. Bush, also founded the Bush School of Government and Public Service. This institution produces future leaders and public servants. Mrs. Bush was a frequent visitor to campus and cared about the students who attend the Bush School.

Her legacy will live on in her family, Bush School graduates, and the countless men and women she influenced. May we all be inspired by her life and help to carry on the legacy of courage and service she inspired.

“At the end of your life, you will not regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, or a parent” – Barbara Bush

—by EJ

[1] Alessandra Stanley. “The 1992 Campaign: Barbara Bush; First Lady on Abortion: Not a Platform Issue.” The New York Times, 1992. https://www.nytimes.com/1992/08/14/us/the-1992-campaign-barbara-bush-first-lady-on-abortion-not-a-platform-issue.html

[2] Steve Hendrix. “’Find the Joy’: The Day Barbara Bush wowed Wellesley’s Feminist Protestors with a Graduation Speech.” The Washington Post. 18 April 2018. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/retropolis/wp/2018/04/18/find-the-joy-the-day-barbara-bush-wowed-wellesley-even-her-feminist-protesters/?utm_term=.867a6e88a329

2 thoughts on “Barbara Bush: A Legacy of Public Service

  1. Tessa A Pennington says:

    What a great tribute to Mrs. Bush’s life of service! I think it is important to recognize the contributions individuals have made to the cause of women’s freedom from both sides of the political and ideological spectrum! Thank you for this tribute!

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