Rep. Williams Urges Support for Coin Bill Honoring President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Roger Williams (R-TX-25) on Monday addressed the U.S. House of Representatives in support of the President George H.W. Bush and First Spouse Barbara Bush Coin Act (S. 457).
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise today in strong support of the President George H.W. Bush and First Spouse Barbara Bush Coin Act honoring one of the most remarkable couples in our nation’s history.
I’m proud to have introduced the House companion bill, H.R. 1173, this Congress with a bipartisan group of 27 lawmakers from the Texas delegation.
President George H.W. and First Lady Barbara Bush were examples of selflessness and sacrifice – and like their country, they were tough, strong, and kind.
From President Bush’s naval aviation career, where he was the youngest pilot to receive his wings and was later shot down over the Pacific, to his small business career; to his tenures as a Texas congressman, Ambassador to the United Nations, de facto Ambassador to China, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency; and later as Vice President, no one was more prepared to be president than George H.W. Bush.
During his presidency, he tore down the Berlin Wall and kept us safe during Desert Storm. He brought to the White House with him unwavering strength, patriotism and humility.
An example of the latter that comes to mind when shortly before the USS George H.W. Bush, or CVN-77, was completed, several of us on the Board of Directors went to President Bush’s Houston office to let him know the ship was almost ready.
Upon learning of its status, he put his head in his hands and said, “this is one of the nicest things that has ever happened to me.” He was the embodiment of a gracious warrior.
He also lived fearlessly. Later in his life, when President Bush turned 80, he celebrated his birthday, dubbed 41 at 80, by jumping out of a plane around 13,000 feet at College Station – twice. They were his fourth and fifth jumps, and I was honored to shake his hand upon landing.
For those who knew the Bushes, their love for country was only surpassed by their love for each other.
George and Barbara Bush were married for 73 years, in one of the greatest love stories of our time. From their very first meeting to the decades of life and family they shared together, the Bushes personified devotion and the truest expression of love.
President Bush and I were often able to share our passion for America’s favorite pastime while I served as a trustee for the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M.
41 was a fixture in the world of baseball, and he famously took credit for the phrase “you da man” while praising the Houston Astros’ Rusty Staub after a game.
It was one of the very few things he would ever boast about, and he claimed from then on that he never received enough credit for coining the phrase.
I also had the great privilege of awarding him the college baseball Hall of Fame induction trophy in his Houston office a few years ago for his esteemed collegiate career playing for Yale.
And today I even wear this ring as the George H.W. Bush Award recipient from the college baseball Hall of Fame.
President Bush taught my daughters how to play basketball in Kennebunkport, preparing them for their future junior high and high school careers.
He most notably taught them the “falling leaf” shot, which in his mind would make them all-stars if mastered, while they wore tennis shoes given to them by Mrs. Bush.
First Lady Barbara Bush was a force of nature, and she carried the mantle of trusted adviser and family matriarch with unfailing grace. She displayed true dedication to her country and her family in every phase of her life.
To this day, one of my most meaningful memories was 41 often saying, “thank you for being a friend to my family and a friend to my son.”
Together, President Bush and Mrs. Bush exemplified what all Americans should strive to emulate. They were friends of America – and I was honored to call them friends of mine.
I urge my colleagues to support this bill honoring the legacy of two of our nation’s most devoted servants.
In closing, President Bush: “You da man.”
In God we trust, I yield back the remainder of my time.
Congressman Roger Williams represents the 25th Congressional District of Texas and serves as a member of the House Committee on Financial Services.