George H.W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States, passed away at his home in Texas on Friday. He was 94 years old and had long suffered from Parkinson's disease.
Beyond serving as President for one term between 1989 and 1993, the prominent Republican also fathered George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States, who served two terms from 2001 to 2009. Bush Sr. had many other achievements: he was a graduate of the esteemed Phillips Academy and Yale University, a decorated World War II naval officer, a successful executive in the Texas oil industry, twice elected to represent Texas in Congress, an ambassador to the U.N., an envoy to China, director of the CIA for just under a year between 1976 and 1977, and vice president to Ronald Reagan between 1981 and 1989.
During his time in the White House, Bush Sr. witnessed the end of the Cold War, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Bush Sr. greeted these developments with cautious encouragement, maintaining restrained policies towards the region. Bush Sr. was also noted for his military invasion of Panama to overthrow General Manuel Noriega between 1989 and 1990. Though Noriega's regime was a corrupt and engaged in violent drug trafficking, Bush Sr. later faced criticism for the operation, which caused destruction and allegedly left inadequate plans for the aftermath.
Bush Sr. is perhaps most famous for operation Desert Storm, a 100-hour battle that successfully prevented Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's forces from seizing control of Kuwait and invading Saudi Arabia. The legacy of this victory has proven complex over time, as it ushered in an era of preoccupation with Iraq that later influenced U.S. involvement in the costly and unpopular Second Persian Gulf War.
Ultimately, Bush Sr. was not elected to a second term after struggling with increasing national violent crime rates, high deficit spending, and economic woes. After the loss, Bush Sr. and his wife, Barbara Bush, returned to their Houston home. Barbara Bush passed away in April of 2018 from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
To honor Bush Sr.'s service, the White House said that President Donald Trump will designate Wednesday, December 5, as a national day of mourning. The New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq will be closed in observance.