Dead Presidents

Historical facts, thoughts, ramblings and collections on the Presidency and about the Presidents of the United States.

By Anthony Bergen

Forget about politics and political differences and even history for at least a few moments.  It was 60 years this October when Robin, the second child of George H.W. and Barbara Bush, tragically died of leukemia at the age of 4.  Losing their 4-year-old daughter dramatically altered the lives of the young parents, as well as Robin’s 7-year-old brother, George W., who later remembered that he would work hard as a child to make his grief-stricken mother smile or laugh.

Some things are bigger than politics and one of those things is my admiration for George Herbert Walker Bush, who I’ve always respected and has now done something that I love.  When Patrick, the 2-year-old son of one of the members of the former President’s Secret Service detail was diagnosed with leukemia this spring, the Bush family was quick to donate to Patrick’s Pals in order to help pay for Patrick’s treatment. But the 41st President of the United States went even further.

As noticed the men on his protective detail shaving their heads in solidarity with their colleague’s ailing son, Bush wanted to support them, as well.  This week, the 89-year-old former President shaved his head, as well.  Political differences — whether they are serious or petty — can sometimes cloud our judgment of one another as human beings.  But there’s nothing cloudy or hazy about this gesture — an old man at one end of a long, illustrious life supporting a little boy facing adversity at the very beginning of a life that will hopefully be as long and successful as the old man’s.

It’s a simple gesture and one that lesser-known people frequently make to show their support of their own ailing friends and family.  But I love this.  I think it’s beautiful.  And, at some point, I’ll answer another question on this site or write another essay where I focus on his politics or his history as President, but I hope I don’t forget to note that George H.W. Bush is a damn good man and I’m proud we elected a man like him as our President.

You can donate to Patrick’s Pals and help with his leukemia treatment.  Also, please consider giving your support (even if it’s just a Facebook ‘like’) to the Rich Cronin Hope Foundation for Leukemia in honor of my dear friend Rich Cronin who passed away in 2010 after a long battle with the disease.  You can also help by registering with Be The Match and potentially save lives by joining the National Marrow Donor Program.

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