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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

George H.W. Bush turns 90

The+George+Bush+Presidential+Library+and+Musuem
The George Bush Presidential Library and Musuem

With polka dots, stripes or American flags, crazy socks worn by volunteers and guests were worn throughout the lobby of the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in spirit of the former president George H.W. Bush’s 90th birthday Thursday.
The George Bush Library has hosted other birthday celebrations, but this is the second year it has hosted a “crazy socks” event. Tracy Paine, director of public programs, said the event was just a fun way to represent the president’s humor.
“He’s been wearing crazy socks for a few years now,” Paine said. “He’s kind of become known for it.”
The 41st president was not present at the event as he typically spends his summers in Maine with the former first lady, Barbara Bush, Paine said.
Red, white and blue themed ice cream was served along with other refreshments, and cutouts of socks were made available for guests to color and design their very own “crazy” socks.
Kay Belle, Class of 1978, attended the event and said she felt the theme was quite appropriate for the occasion.
“He has a great sense of humor and shows it in interesting ways like jumping out of airplanes at 90,” Belle said. “So I appreciate that there’s a lightheartedness and maybe even a non typical ‘presidential’ theme today.”
That same lightheartedness was demonstrated Thursday morning when Bush’s Twitter account announced “It’s a wonderful day in Maine – in fact, nice enough for a parachute jump.”
Thursday was Bush’s eighth parachute jump. Bush jumped twice in College Station, once to celebrate his 80th birthday celebration and another during the 10th anniversary of the library and museum in 2007.
“’41@80’ was 10 years ago and he did this thing where he parachuted and Chuck Norris parachuted right there on the grounds [over the presidential library],” Paine said. “They had bands perform. It was a huge event.”
The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum opened to the public in 1997. Paine said Bush is renown for his service to others as he carried eight positions of public service including his Navy service, time as a member of the House of Representative, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, chairman of the Republican National Committee, CIA director, chief of Liaison Office to the People’s Republic of China, 43rd vice president and then 41st president of the United States.
“He is famous for saying ‘[Any] definition of a successful life must include service to others,’ Paine said. “I think that’s kind of his overwhelming theme in his life is public service, service to other people and just family faith and your friends and knowing people.”
Paine said she thought Bush’s character and acts of service were representative of the University where he chose to place his presidential library.
“I think that’s why he felt so at home here,” Paine said. “He didn’t go to school here, he went to Yale. He really didn’t have any connections here at Texas A&M until he visited and gave the commencement speech in ’89 and just kind of fell in love with it. He loves the spirit, the history, the traditions.”
Belle, who has been a resident of College Station for three and half years, said she felt like the former president has had great influence on the Bryan-College Station area.
“For one thing, this is a very conservative, generally, area and I think he exhibits such great integrity, character and conservative values that is shown during presidency and post presidency,” Belle said. “I think that his choosing to put his library [here] is just great for our community.”
Paine said Bush Sr. has always been admired and liked because of his genuineness.
“He’s a ‘real’ person and if you’ve ever met him, he’s extremely nice,” Paine said. “There’s actually a documentary coming out about him on Sunday. It’s called 41 on 41, and in that, someone from the White House said that he knew every single person’s name in the White House.”
Pat Waring, a volunteer of the library and museum for seven years, said she has heard as from years of being a volunteer she had the opportunity to meet Bush Sr.
“I know when he was here, one time when we were having a reception or something and he had something to say abut each one of his kids,” Waring said. “And I admire that, you know you get so caught up in things, but they were always on his mind.”
Paine said a characteristic that college students could borrow from part of the former president’s legacy is his willingness to always help others.
“He has used his life to further the causes he cares about,” Paine said. “It’s really that you’re never too busy or never too important to do something for someone else.”

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