Image Credit: George HW Bush Library/Independent Journal Review
Happy Valentine's Day.
I hope you spend this special day with your loved ones. I also hope you take a moment to recognize most romantic, ongoing love story in America; the relationship of George Herbert Walker and Barbara Bush. We shall display in this post exactly why the Bushes should be the model for the relationship goals of every American and what it is that makes their relationship such a national treasure.
They take the whole 'in sickness and in health thing' very seriously:
After a two-week scare with pneumonia, our 41st president is back home with his high school sweetheart, wife and former first lady Barbara Bush. Bush had been hospitalized after experiencing shortness of breath on January 12. Barbara was also hospitalized for a similar condition soon after. During their hospitalizations, George and Barbara were reportedly inseparable.
According to Yahoo! News:
Physicians Amy Mynderse and Clint Doerr announced Monday morning that Bush will be moved from the intensive care unit to a regular floor and that his wife, former first lady Barbara Bush, has been discharged from the hospital — but she’s still by his side.
“They truly do just have an amazing love for each other and that really came across here. Like I said, she ended up in the hospital trying to be by his bedside all the time,” Mynderse said at a press conference. “Other than sleeping in separate rooms, she has pretty much been sitting by his bedside most of the time.”
“They’re essentially therapy for each other,” Doerr added. “They help in our compliance. When one of them doesn’t want to take a breathing treatment, the other says, ‘Get on that!’ It helps our cause.”
Here is what they looked like, caring for each other in the hospital:
2. They are seriously in it for the long haul. Here they are at the Super Bowl two weeks ago:
And here they are 72 years ago:
3. Over 72 years, they never forgot to have fun together.
A bit closer.
4. They never let anything get between them, even a World War.
George was a hunk.
They met at a dance and fell in love.
According to Biography.com:
In 1941, while at home from boarding school on Christmas break, 16-year-old Barbara met her future husband, George H.W. Bush, a 17-year-old senior at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, at a dance. The pair saw little of each other as George finished high school and then served as the U.S. Navy’s youngest combat pilot in World War II, but they wrote faithfully.
When the Japanese attacked Perl Harbor, George was called to war.
According to WhiteHouse.gov:
On his 18th birthday he enlisted in the armed forces. The youngest pilot in the Navy when he received his wings, he flew 58 combat missions during World War II. On one mission over the Pacific as a torpedo bomber pilot he was shot down by Japanese antiaircraft fire and was rescued from the water by a U. S. submarine. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for bravery in action.
Bush, the pilot, named his plane 'Barbara.'
George wrote love letters to Barbara...
My Darling Bar,
This should be a fairly easy letter to write— words should come easily and in short it should be simple for me to tell you how desperately happy I was to open the paper and see the announcement of our engagement, but somehow I can't possibly say all in a letter I should like to.
I love you, precious; with all my heart and to know that you love me means my life. How often I have thought about the immeasurable joy that will be ours some day. How lucky our children will be to have a mother like you—
So the days go by, the time of our departure draws nearer. For a long time I have anxiously looked forward to the day when we would go abroad and set to sea. It seemed that obtaining that goal would be all I could desire for some time, but, Bar, you have changed all that. I cannot say that I do not want to go—for that would be a lie. We have been working for a long time with a single purpose in mind, to be so equipped that we meet and defeat our enemy. I do want to go because it is my part. But now having present[ed] itself not as an adventure but as a job, which I hope, will be over before long. Even now, with a good while between us and the sea, I am thinking of getting back. This may sound melodramatic, but if it does it is only my inadequacy to say what I mean. Bar, you have made my life full of everything I could ever dream of— my complete happiness should be to hear of my love for you.
Wednesday is definitely the commissioning and I do hope you’ll be there. I’ll call mom tomorrow about my plan. A lot of fellows put down their parents and they aren't going so you could pose as Mrs.—. just say you lost the invite and give your name. They'll check the list and you'll be in. How proud I’ll be if you can come.
I’ll tell you all about the latest flying developments later. We have so much to do and so little time to do it in. It is frightening at times. The seriousness of this is beginning to strike home. I have been made Asst. Gunnery Officer. I’m afraid I know very little about it but I am excited at having such a job. I’ll tell you all about this later too.
The wind of late has been blowing like mad and our flying has been cut to a minimum. My plane, #2 now, is up at quonset having a carrier installed. It is Bar #2 but purely in spirit since the Atlantic fleet won’t let us have names on our planes.
Goodnight, my beautiful. Every time I say beautiful you about kill me but you will have to accept it—
I hope I get Thursday off—there’s still a chance. All my love, darling—
Public fiancé as of 12/12/43.
...and Barbara wrote love letters back to George.
I think it was perfectly swell of you to invite me to the dance and I would love to come or go or whatever you say. I wrote (illegible name) yesterday or the day before and, rather logically, I haven't heard from her but I'm sure she is going to let us come or go etc. I really am excited but scared to death, too. If you hear a big noise up there, don’t worry it’s just my knees knocking.
5. George returned home a war hero. They started the parenting game together....
... and loved it.
They had four children and made them ride an elephant.
The Bushes poured so much love into their children.
They were so proud of their children, they literally wore it.
Even though those kids would go on to outshine them in many ways!
They were also great with the grandkids.
And any kids, to be honest.
I mean, George HW literally invented the Presidential selfie.
6. George HW Bush got into the family business, running for political office for the first time in mid-1960s.
Barb was always there to support him through grueling campaigns.
Even though early on, campaigning was kinda depressing.
In 1966 Bush was elected to Congress and Barb was right there with him...along with the kids.
Through huge political battles and the stresses of public life, she was his support and most valuable adviser.
7. They smiled.
And did not mind if the other kissed someone else, every once in a while.
Just being nice, here.
“All in good fun! Love you, darling.”
They even wore masks of each other.(?)
8. They always had a pet dog which they adored and raised together.
Puppies and presidencies.
Their dogs were cute enough to melt Vladimir's heart.
I mean, Barb even worked out with the dogs wearing matching sweatsuits.
9. The Bushes always had impeccable fashion.
Whether they were twinning on the golf course...
Going for a walk...
Barb got George's jacket game on point.
I mean, look at them:
Look at them! So formal.
But not too formal.
10. They never let fame change them or their relationship.
They met the biggest stars in the world.
More Kings. And future Presidents.
And the Terminator.
The fame did not change them one bit.
11. They stayed healthy together.
12. They always let each other follow their passions.
Even if those passions were a bit dangerous.
In then end, their relationship is no secret. They just decided to love each other.
Here is a letter Bush wrote Barbara in 1994:
“Will you marry me? Whoops. I forgot you did that 49 years ago today. I was very happy on that day in 1945, but I’m even happier today. You give me joy that few men know. I’ve climbed perhaps the highest mountain in the world, but even that cannot hold a candle to being Barbara’s husband,” Bush read, his voice cracking slightly. “Little did I know I was only trying to keep up with Barbara Pierce from Onondaga Street in Rye, New York. I love you.”
And 72 years later, they still do.
Thanks to them, for showing America how to have a relationship that withstands the test of time.
Happy Valentine's Day.