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Western New York remembers George H.W. Bush

Photo courtesy of Bob Rich Jr.

George Herbert Walker Bush is being remembered for his lifetime of service to his nation. Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said even in his post-presidency, the elder Bush continued to help others in need.

University at Buffalo professor emeritus Claude Welch, a renowned political scientist, said Bush was a man of personal integrity with extensive experience.

"Bush came to the presidency with a varied administrative background. He headed the CIA and was ambassador to China," Welch said. "He certainly had an awareness of the globe."

Welch said there were two reasons why Bush lost his re-election bid in 1992, despite high job approval a year earlier.

"He went back on his pledge about raising taxes, though it was a minor step because of changes in the global oil market," Welch said. "And then there was the H. Ross Perot factor. Basically, (Bill) Clinton won on a minority vote. Had Perot not been in the race, the result could have been quite different."

Bush made at least three appearances in Western New York. He never visited as president. But in April 1988, Bush came to Buffalo while he was running and stopped by Pilot Field just days before it opened.

On his Facebook page, Rich posted the following tribute:

President George H.W. Bush, 1924-2018.

“What is America anyway, if not a deep reservoir of hope, filled with ideals, dreams and aspirations...perhaps only one last cast away?”

Bob Rich from ‘Anglers of the Oval Office’ Lecture at George HW Bush Presidential Library, 2006

Post presidency, Bush was here in September 1999 for an address as part of UB's Distinguished Speakers Series.

Governor Andrew Cuomo Saturday directed that flags on all state government buildings be flown at half-staff in honor of President George H. W. Bush from Tuesday, December 4 until interment.

"President George H. W. Bush was a statesman and patriot who dedicated his life to serving his country," Cuomo said. "His greatest legacy may be the successful end of the Cold War, which occurred on his watch. His leadership was an important factor in the three decades of stability Europe has enjoyed since the fall of the Iron Curtain."