Mr. President, I rise today to recognize former

President George H.W. Bush, and I want to thank my colleague Senator

Portman from Ohio for those personal memories. I now will always

remember that baseball story. It is an example of what he stood for,

and that is that he actually cared that there were people of both

parties who would sign that baseball. I want to thank Senator Portman

for carrying on that torch of working across the aisle.

President Bush dedicated his entire life to the United States. His

first service was as a decorated Navy pilot, as we know, who risked his

life during World War II and in 1944 was shot down in the Pacific. That selfless sacrifice was not enough. He went on to

spend 40 years in public service as a Congressman from Texas, as an

Ambassador to the United Nations, as U.S. Envoy to China, as Director

of the CIA, and then, of course, as Vice President and then as


He wore so many hats during his time in service, but through it all

he was a true statesman who treated both his friends and his rivals

with grace and dignity.

He also viewed the world through the lens of history, which was often

the guiding force in his approach to diplomacy in dealing with the rest

of the world.

As President, he helped to bring an end to four decades of the Cold

War and the threat of nuclear engagement as democracy spread throughout

Eastern Europe, and he signed the bipartisan Americans with

Disabilities Act, which has had a lasting impact in expanding the

rights of Americans with disabilities.

His commitment to his country was unshakable, and he instilled this

value in his own children.

For George H.W. Bush, patriotism was bigger than political rivalries.

In 1993, as he departed the White House, he left a note, which many of

us saw for the first time this week. It was a note that he left for

President Clinton, who had defeated President Bush in the Presidential

election just two months before he signed that letter. President Bush


You will be our President when you read this note. I wish

you well. I wish your family well. Your success is now our

country's success. I am rooting hard for you.

He wrote that note just as he was turning over the keys to the Oval

Office to someone who had just defeated him in an election campaign.

President Bush was someone who fought hard on the campaign trail, but

once the votes were cast, he understood the underlying truth of

America--that people with different political views are not enemies,

and when all is said and done, we can come together to advance the

cause of America, not tear it down.

As Senator Portman noted, President Bush's death comes less than 8

months after the passing of former First Lady Barbara Bush, his wife of

over 73 years. Never one to be a shrinking violet, she was fiercely

loyal to her family and an outspoken advocate for causes she believed

in. I always respected her directness. She was her own person. She

loved her family and her country. And we remember her this week as


I was reading a story in our local Minneapolis paper. I did not know

that President Bush actually trained in Minnesota in the middle of

winter for a few months before he went over to serve in the Pacific.

During that time, he wrote a number of letters to his own mother about

his service. OK, maybe he complained about the Minnesota weather a

little bit, but one of the more amusing parts of those letters was that

he told her that Barbara was sending him some socks that she had knit

for him down in Texas. He said in the letter that she said they don't

even look like socks, but when he received the socks, he said: They are

actually not bad. They are pretty good socks.

You literally could follow that part of his life in the letters he

was writing back then to his mother. You could see the patriotism shine

through. You could see what it was like for him to be away from his

family and how much he loved his family. That carried on to the very

end of his life. He was still so kind in these notes and so sweet to

his family members and to those who had been his friends for so very


As we pay tribute to President Bush's tremendous record of service,

we also must stay grounded in his respect for all public servants--not

just the ones he agreed with--and his unwavering belief, in his own

words, that ``no definition of a successful life can do anything but

include serving others.'' Of course, that service can come in many

forms, as he showed in his own life. Some people may serve in the

military. Some people may take on causes outside of government service

and volunteer. Others may work in law enforcement. Others may, of

course, get elected or have the privilege to work in this Capitol for

the people. President Bush lived that life, and America has lost a true


My prayers are with the entire Bush family.

Thank you, Mr. President.

I yield the floor.