'A great American': York GOP, Dems join in mourning Bush

Rebecca Klar
York Dispatch

George H.W. Bush's death spurred condolences and emotional tributes from elected officials — even those whose politics differed from those of the former president. 

Bush died at 94 on Friday, Nov. 30, at his Houston home, nearly eight months after the death of his wife, Barbara.

Former President George H.W. Bush attends a ceremony for 25th Anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act, July 25, 2005. President Bush died on Friday Nov. 30, 2018. (Department of Housing and Urban Development/TNS)

Across social media platforms, Pennsylvania and York officials mourned the nation's loss, remembering Bush for his service to the country and for his personal achievements. 

"President George H.W. Bush was a great American patriot, dedicated public servant, tireless humanitarian and a caring family man," U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said in a statement. 

On Twitter, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., said Bush served the country "honorably and with distinction for over 40 years." 

Casey's tweet continues to note Bush promoted democracy in the former Soviet Union and expanded the rights of individuals with disabilities. 

More:EDITORIAL: With Bush goes a kinder, gentler era

More:Platts: Bush 'one of the real heroes of our nation'

More:George H.W. Bush, ‘kinder and gentler’ president, dies at 94

York County Democratic Party Chairman Chad Baker shared a similar sentiment in a statement, also calling Bush a "true public servant in many ways throughout his long life." 

Baker said Bush's military service, role within the CIA and two terms as vice president and one term as president were "huge sacrifices" Bush was willing to make "for the betterment of this country." 

"While, as members of the Democratic Party, we often did not see eye to eye with President Bush in his policy, it is safe to say we respected him and his continued dedication to the United States," Baker said. "He should be remembered for this above all else.”

The York County Republican Committee shared a post by the late Bush's son, President George W. Bush, and thanked the 41st president for his service to the nation. 

Memories: Former U.S. Rep. Todd Platts once called George H.W. Bush an inspiration for him.

“I’ve always long admired President Bush,” said Platts, now a York County Common Pleas Court judge.

Speaking a few years ago, Platts recalled voting for Bush during the 1980 primary and said he helped with Bush’s presidential campaign in 1988.

“He just had a remarkable career,” the six-term Republican congressman said at the time.

Platts’ met the former president as recently as 2009, during President Barack Obama’s inauguration ceremony.

Before that, Platts and his family had attended a commissioning ceremony for the USS George H.W. Bush.

“The commissioning was such a wonderful tribute to his service,” he said.

At the inauguration ceremony, Platts said he briefly spoke to the former president, mentioning the commissioning ceremony.

“He turned around and said to me, ‘Wasn’t that great fun?’” Platts recalled.

“My response was ‘Mr. President, it absolutely was,’” he said.

Platts said Bush’s service to the country was “selfless.”

“With history, he will be regarded as one of the real heroes of our nation for his service in so many ways,” Platts said.

Flags lowered: Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, ordered all commonwealth flags throughout Pennsylvania to be flown at half-staff to honor Bush. 

In a statement, Wolf said Bush was a "kind and gentle man" and will be greatly missed. 

"A decorated war hero and career public servant with extensive credentials, President Bush protected and brought honor to America," the governor said. "'41' will be remembered for signing the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act, his post-presidency work on behalf of his fellow veterans and bringing honor and grace to his service." 

On Twitter, U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker, R-Lancaster, said Bush served the nation "by faith and principle." 

Bush showed America the value of "being a hard worker, a loving father and a public servant," Smucker said. 

"He led our country by example  and will be missed," he said. 

Bush in York: According to The York Dispatch archives, the former president campaigned in downtown York City while vice president in the fall of 1988.

He stopped in Monaghan Township in June 1992 for a fundraising dinner for U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa.

His last local stop, according to records, was in May 1999, when he spoke at the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center for the Junior League of York.