President George H.W. Bush was a humble and ambitious leader who died on November 30, 2018, at the age of 94. He was responsible for walking the U.S. through important milestones like the Americans with Disabilities Act, Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, and Operation Just Cause. He will be remembered as a veteran, congressman, vice president, legacy leader, and of course, our 41st president.
Within the span of his 94 years, George H.W. Bush developed an impressive list of accomplishments. This list started early in 1941 when he joined the U.S. Navy to fight against the attack on Pearl Harbor. He flew 58 combat missions during World War II and was awarded three Air Medals and the Distinguished Flying Cross. After the war, he went to Yale University and was part of the graduating class of 1948.
His political accomplishments started in 1966 when he was elected into the House of Representatives. He was later appointed as Ambassador to the United Nations by President Nixon. In 1976, he was appointed as Director of the CIA, and seven years later was elected as Vice President alongside President Ronald Reagan.
In 1988, George H.W. Bush was elected as the 41st president of the United States. Fun fact: President George H.W. Bush was the second president, after Martin van Buren, to be elected while sitting as a vice president. During his presidency, he sent troops to Panama for Operation Just Cause in an attempt to oust the dictator of an international drug trade. In 1990, he signed the Americans with Disabilities Act into law. As his presidency continued he negotiated a budget deal to reduce the federal deficit and signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treating with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in 1991.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is considered to be George H.W. Bush’s landmark presidential legislation. The ADA was signed into law on July 26, 1990, with the purpose of ensuring individuals with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else and are not discriminated against. This applies to housing accommodations, employment opportunities, public transportation, government services, and telecommunications.
The ADA classifies a disabled person as “a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment.”
The ADA currently protects an estimated 55 million Americans. Many changes brought by the ADA can be seen everywhere we look. This includes the use of wheelchair-accessible transit, braille in public buildings, closed captioning for television and movies, and fire alarms that can be both heard and seen.
President George H.W. Bush will be remembered in many aspects including his love for colorful socks and desire to skydive on several of his birthdays. It’s hard to put into words the impact he had on America, but as Barrack Obama stated, “He was a good reminder that as fiercely as we may fight on policy and on issues, that ultimately we’re Americans first. And that kind of attitude is something that I think a lot of people miss.”