The first president I voted for after turning 18 was President George H.W. Bush.
Away from home and at college in Tennessee, I transferred my residency to the Volunteer state just so I could vote like a “real” voter. None of that absentee ballot stuff for me, no sir, I was going to stand in line– even in the rain (which was highly likely in the Tennessee Valley)– show my voter ID, cast my ballot and be counted.
I wanted my first voting experience to be for President Reagan, whom I adored. He was the first president I was truly aware of but, alas, I was too young each time he ran.
But President George Herbert Walker Bush? President Reagan’s Vice President? I was in.
We often don’t remember the also-rans but I remember Michael Dukakis–largely because my debate partner used to say that he didn’t want to vote for someone whose last name sounded like something you stepped in. Other than the two major nominees, I don’t remember many details about the presidential race but I do remember that I felt I voted for the man I thought would do the job the best, who largely believed in the same things I did.
President Bush was a gracious man who, despite his wealth and his education, had a servant’s heart. So many tributes have poured in, stories of how he took time with a child or was especially kind to others in a way that made it clear that that was who he was. His kindness wasn’t for show.
It has already been said but it is the end of an era. May President Bush enjoy his rest, reunited with his beloved Barbara and their daughter, Robin.