The legacy of a president

Published 6:00 am Friday, December 7, 2018

President of the United States of America is the most prestigious title any citizen in this country could ever hold. It is not only an expression of the will of the people by majority, but a symbol of both their trust and hope in an individual to make decisions that are best for our nation.

Regardless of party lines or prejudices, the leader of this nation carries a heavy weight on his shoulders. The safety and wellbeing of millions of people depend on that one person making a right decision in time of crisis and hundreds of small decisions every day.

As the late President, George H. W. Bush was laid to rest this week with greatest honors, every news media outlet reviewed his presidency. His remarkable journey started at a very young age. He was the 41st President of these United States and served from 1989-1993. Amazingly, he was also the 43 Vice President and served in that capacity from 1981-1989. He had also served as an ambassador, congressman, and Director of Central Intelligence.

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As a young man, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, he delayed his plans for college and enlisted in the United States Navy at age 18 and became the youngest aviator in the U.S. Navy at that time. He saw the horrors and incredible toll of war up closer and personal. He experienced the cost of war to a generation, a nation, and individuals. With this behind him, he was not a man or leader who was ready to rush headlong into any kind of military conflict.

Born in Massachusetts, he had an adventurous spirit and moved his family to Texas with faith in himself that he could make it as an oil man. By the age of 40, he had been successful in the business, and had become a millionaire.

All of these experiences had uniquely qualified him to hold the office of President. He had served on a state level, international level, and was second in command for eight years. Some call him the last of the “Greatest Generation.” He was a warrior, but also a man who called for a gentler, kinder America. He was a family man who valued the significance of the family unit in the bigger scheme of things.

One of the things noted about each president during their term of office is how quickly they age from the time they take office until the time they exit. The weight and paramount important of the office take their toll on each man but looking back at the life and time of George H. W. Bush in the White House, it seems that he faired well.

The legacy of most Presidents of the United States is put in perspective long after they have served in the office when their decisions and lack of them are weighed against the backdrop of history. Loved and praised by some, despised and criticized by others, each President makes his way through his time in office.

We have yet to see the big picture about our most recent presidents who came after George H.W. Bush. From his son all the way through our current President, Donald Trump, the true impact of their term in office will be known in the future, after they have each been laid to rest and new men or women fill the position in the White House.

Somewhere right now, there is a baby being born who may grow into the man or woman who will one day sit in the highest seat of power in this great nation. The journey that will lead them to the place is yet to unfold. That history is yet to be written. Somewhere in the public eye, the next presidents to come are already in office, in power, learning the skills that will lead them to the White House. May they all leave behind a legacy such as George H. W. Bush.

Reach longtime Enterprise columnist Judith Victoria Hensley at or on Facebook. Check out her blog: One Step Beyond the Door.