Last night, as we learned of the passing of former First Lady Barbara Bush, my first thought was for her family, President Bush and their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren and the memories they will share with each other over the coming days. All of us send our deepest sympathy and prayers to them.
As a nation, we were lucky to have Barbara Bush as our First Lady. She was known for her loyalty, honesty, intelligence, sense of humor, kindness, and fierce love for her family. Throughout her life she showed us what it meant to be authentic. She reminded us that the most important yardstick of success in life is how you treat other people.
Through her words and deeds, she challenged us to make a difference. Her visit to a hospital to hold an infant with HIV/AIDS opened hearts, allayed fears, and showed it was safe and necessary to care for these children. She cared deeply about literacy, starting the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, because she believed in the power of literacy to strengthen families and our nation, now and for generations to come. The Foundation has provided educational opportunities for nearly three decades, and CNCS has proudly supported its work though our programs.
It is almost impossible to think of Mrs. Bush without thinking of President Bush and their lifelong partnership. They were exemplars for service and volunteering. From launching Points of Light to working with AmeriCorps and Senior Corps, to standing up for America’s children with America’s Promise, they led by example when they challenged all of us to take action.
Mrs. Bush said her top priorities in life were faith, family, and friends. She once said: “'Believe in something larger than yourself…get involved in the big ideas of your time.'" As we remember her extraordinary life, let us be inspired by her compassion and redouble our own commitment to serving others.