BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - President George H.W. Bush has died. He was 94 years old.
President George H.W. Bush, The 41st President of the United States, Photo Date: Aug 2016 (MGN)
According to a statement by his office, funeral arrangements will be announced as soon as they are practical. He was proceeded in death by his wife, former First Lady Barbara Bush. She passed away in April.
His service to our county began long before he became president. Mr. Bush joined the Navy on his 18th birthday. A decorated pilot, he flew 58 combat missions during World War II. In 1944, he was shot down while completing a mission over the Pacific. Mr. Bush was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his bravery in action.
Mr. Bush's next mission became family and college. He married Barbara Pierce in January 1945. The couple had six children. Their daughter Robin died when she was a child.
In 1948, Mr. Bush received a degree in economics from Yale University, where he was also a star athlete. He was the captain of the school's baseball team.
The Bush family moved to West Texas after graduation. That's where he began working in the oil industry. His career in politics and public service started in 1962, when he was elected chairman of the Harris County Republican Party. He served two terms as a Representative to Congress from Texas and was later appointed to numerous high-level positions including Ambassador to the United Nations and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
His push for the presidency began in 1980, when he campaigned for the Republican nomination. He lost to Ronald Reagan but was chosen as his running mate. Mr. Bush served as Vice President two terms. Americans then voted to keep him in the White House.
He was sworn as the 41st President on January 20, 1989. Perhaps one of his biggest tests while commander in chief; Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, a neighboring country. That led to Operation Desert Storm.
"Kuwait, a member of the Arab League, a member of the United Nations was crushed. Its people brutalized. Saddam Hussein started this cruel war with Kuwait. Tonight, the battle has been joined," said President Bush.
During a private meeting in Washington, oil tycoon and renowned scientist Michael Halbouty asked President-elect Bush, "why don't you consider Texas A&M as the site for your presidential library?"
Within weeks, a steering committee was created and the work began.
In January 1990, the final proposal was presented to President Bush and his wife Barbara at the White House. A&M's biggest competitor came from 90 miles away, a joint proposal between the University of Houston and Rice University.
Aggieland's promise of a graduate school for government and public service was a big draw for the president. A year and half later, in May 1991, President Bush called committee members with his decision. President Bush would put his library in the Brazos Valley.
Mr. Bush was not elected to a second term, but remained gracious in defeat. The man who spent decades serving his country, used his concession speech to unite Americans and remind them to work toward the greater good, regardless of who was in office.
"There is important work to be done and America must always come first. So, we will get behind this new president and wish him," the president said, to cheers and applause.
Following years of planning and construction, his $40 million presidential library was dedicated in November 1997 in a historic ceremony that included former presidents and their first ladies.
"I don't know if Lou Gehrig, my great idol, said it first, but I do know he said it best. Today I feel like the luckiest person in the world," said an emotional President Bush.
The Bush Library and Museum is home to more than 40 million official documents, two million photographs, historic artifacts like a slab of the Berlin Wall, the gate of Kuwait, and a replica of the Oval Office and Situation Room. Through the years, the library has welcomed an incredible list of dignitaries, celebrities and world leaders.
The impact that President Bush has had on the Bryan and College Station community is immeasurable. His presidential library and museum has brought millions of tourists to town. His commitment to volunteerism is woven into the Bush School of Public Service and Government at Texas A&M. The Bushes adopted Texas A&M and the Brazos Valley and in turn, the community adopted them back.