Like many Americans, I was deeply touched by the way our country honored President George H.W. Bush, who was buried next to his wife and daughter yesterday in College Station, Texas. At the funeral held at his hometown church, his closest friend James Baker noted, “George Bush was a charter member of the Greatest Generation.” My parents were part of that generation, and my father fought in the Pacific in World War II. Many of this great generation, including President Bush and my parents, have died, and their passing, leaves a void that does not appear to be filled anytime soon. Many of the adjectives used to describe President Bush: Integrity. Kindness. Dignity. Humor. Empathy. Loyalty. Generosity. Truth, could also be used to describe many others from this Greatest Generation. As more than a few TV pundits have noted, the same cannot be said of many of those who have come after them. We have a lot to do if we want to catch up, and I believe we have it in us to do just that.
Actually, we can start today. If you spend just one week working on one of those adjectives describing President Bush, you would make a difference. Slowly, over time, working on developing a life of Integrity, Kindness, Dignity, Humor, Empathy, Loyalty, Generosity, Truth, and I would add Faith, will change your life and might just change the world. The road will not be easy, but it will be worth it in the end.
Americans of President Bush’s generation were shaped by the Great Depression and World War II. During those two events, many lost everything, including their lives. Those who survived had a different perspective of life than most of us today, who seem to take everything for granted, driven more by a sense of entitlement than service.
I think this quote, coming from a friend of the late president, noted that many in the Greatest Generation seemed to live life from this perspective: “Every new day is going to be a gift I will not squander.” As we quickly move towards a New Year, I think it would be powerful and helpful if more of us could adopt this perspective as a New Year’s Resolution. Friends, there is a God-given greatness in each and every one of us. It’s time for us to activate that greatness and live each day as a gift, honoring God in all that we do.