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Tribune Editorial: Saying goodbye and remembrance this week

The hearse carrying former President George H.W. Bush casket travels by the World War II memorial Wednesday, en route to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. Katherine Frey / Washington Post1 / 2
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The Bush family and America bade farewell to President George Herbert Walker Bush this week, the patriarch of his political family. It was fitting to honor this former president and military veteran who faithfully served his country in multiple occasions.

Bush 41, like many of his generation, answered their country's call following the famous attack on Pearl Harbor 77 years ago today. Upon his 18th birthday later, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, quickly earned his wings and became one of the youngest pilots in the U.S. military service.

He was 94 years old upon his death Nov. 30. He is the last president to have served in World War II.

Following the war, he attended Yale and captained the baseball team. After his college graduation in 1948, he moved to Texas with his wife, Barbara, and young son, George W. He soon joined the oil business.

He eventually entered politics and first ran for office in 1964. He bounced back from his first loss and was elected to Congress from Texas in 1966. In the 1970s, he served as ambassador to the United Nations and as chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Bush 41 served as vice president to President Ronald Reagan and in 1988 was elected as president. He lost his bid for re-election to Bill Clinton in 1992. He would later join Clinton in several successful humanitarian efforts.

He is remembered as a good and decent man, who was a "kinder and gentler" leader who inspired others to serve and become one of his "thousand points of light."

As his body traveled by train across the Texas landscape Thursday to his final resting spot his presidential library at Texas A&M University, thousands gathered along the rails to say their final goodbye.

This passing is the continuation of the end of an era - not only for the presidency but the remaining WWII veterans.

Today is Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt called it "December 7, 1941, a day that will live in infamy." It is a day that awoke a sleeping giant of a nation and filled it with fury and strength to fight and win a two-front world war.

Pearl Harbor is but a quick mention in the history books for today's school-age generation, but this history-making event changed the world for the Greatest Generation.

Bush 41 and millions of other Americans of this Greatest Generation soon joined up to serve their nation and fight the Axis powers of the 1940s. More than 318,000 U.S. service personnel died and more than 500,000 were wounded during the war.

How fortunate we are that they served so we today can enjoy our freedoms and bounty of America.

To all WWII veterans—present and deceased—we thank you and we remember Pearl Harbor Day.