- - Wednesday, December 24, 2014


A man who jumps out of an airplane at 90, just for the fun of it, is a man to inspire the Walter Mitty in all of us earthbound creatures. George H.W. Bush has been an inspiration and an example since he put on his country’s uniform after Pearl Harbor and went cheerfully off to war. He became the youngest pilot in the Navy, and flew 58 combat missions in the South Pacific. He was elected to Congress and held several important positions in the government before he was elected the 41st president of the United States.

The prayers of the nation accompanied him to a Houston hospital two days before this Christmas for “observation” after he felt a little shortness of breath. We join in with those prayers and hope and expect him to be back home with his family soonest, if not before.

Though in recent months he retired to a scooter to get around the house, Mr. Bush has lived anything but a retiring life in retirement. He has continued serve and to enjoy himself, as a fisherman, outdoorsman and skipper of the one-man crew aboard his famous speedboat. He celebrated his 75th, 80th, 85th and 90th birthdays as a skydiver, reprising his first parachute jump from a burning Grumman Avenger fighter-bomber over Chichi Jima after a successful bombing run in the pivotal Battle of the Philippine Sea. For that he received the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Mr. Bush is a hero among the last of “the Greatest Generation,” the men who went off to World War II with neither whimper nor complaint, it never occurring to them to avoid service to pursue “other priorities.” He came home from the war to return to Yale, where he was the first baseman on the baseball team. He retained his lanky physique — his fellow pilots on the carrier San Jacinto called him “Skin” — which would serve him well throughout the years. We look forward to watching him make another parachute jump one decade hence, to celebrate making 100.

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