No matter your feelings about the man, George H.W. Bush is our last living president to serve on active duty during World War II (Jimmy Carter was at the Naval Academy during the war).
Today, he remembered the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese in College Station, Texas. Among the attendees was fellow WWII veteran and former Kansas Senator Bob Dole. Their past contentious relationship and friendship in recent years was the topic of an article in Time by John Meacham today. Of the pair he says,
“Like John Adams and Thomas Jefferson in the lengthening shadows of the Founding era, Bush and Dole are among the last surviving men of the Greatest Generation who rose to rule Cold War Washington. At 92 (Bush) and 93 (Dole), they are what Jefferson referred to as “Argonauts” of old, bearing scars and nurturing memories of a world that is rapidly slipping away. “The president and I are part of a disappearing generation,” Dole said, noting that only 850,000 members of the World War II generation survived from a high of 16 million.”
They are some of the last of a long dying generation.
Fox News’ Senior Political Analyst, Brit Hume, was also there and stood for a great shot with his wife and the president next to a plane like the one Bush flew during WWII.
With my wife, Kim, and Pres. Bush 41 beside a plane identical to one he flew in WWII, on the eve of 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. pic.twitter.com/i3eJDcG8V2
— Brit Hume (@brithume) December 7, 2016
While only still in high school at the Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts on this day in 1941, by 1943 Bush would be the youngest naval aviator, at only 18, up to that date.
By the end of the war, Bush would fly 1,228 hours and 58 combat missions. But his most harrowing experience during the war came when his plane was hit during a bombing mission and he had to eject, landing in the waters off of the island of Chi Chi Jima.
You can watch the video of what happened here: