“Great But Also Good,” the title of PA State Treasurer Joseph Torsella’s recent personal commentary on President George H.W. Bush, expresses in its simplicity what so many have been sharing this week about the leader and the man. It was how Barbara Bush spoke about her husband, then - Presidential Candidate George Bush when I first met her in 1979 at a Springfield, Mass. Chamber breakfast. I was impressed by the resume and equally impressed by how she spoke of the man, his strength, kindness, humility and above all, love of country and of family. I said, “Sign me up!” And thus began work on the Bush Presidential primary campaign, later the Reagan-Bush campaign, that led to me Washington, DC., as a young political appointee. With earlier positions at State and USIA, I was proud to serve President Bush as an Assistant Secretary of Commerce, overseeing worldwide offices dedicated to promoting this great country of ours to international visitors. I will always remember President Bush’s personal participation in a video showcasing the beauty and diversity of America, where the film ended with the President asking, “So what are you waiting for, an invitation from the President? America, it’s yours to Discover.” Soon after, we received hundreds of letters from people abroad who had seen the video.
One, in particular, I shall never forget, where a British citizen remarked, “How wonderful for you to publicly declare your love of country!” I also remember his kindness toward and appreciation of staff, at every level. How President and Mrs. Bush would delay departure to Texas during the Holidays so that USSS agents would have time for family. That was Bush 41. Unabashedly proud of our country and considerate of others. I later worked for his son, Bush 43, as an Assistant Commerce Secretary for Trade and, then, Vice Chair at Ex-Im Bank. So when I went to the Capitol Rotunda on Tuesday, I joined so many Americans in saying thank you, President Bush, for your dedicated and principled leadership and for your love of country. And I expressed gratitude for the opportunity he gave me to experience and appreciate the nobility of public service. It is my hope that many young people who came to know President Bush through the stories and tributes of these last few days will also be encouraged to serve our great country.
Linda Mysliwy Conlin
President, World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia