'A true American leader': NJ officials remember George H.W. Bush

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New Jersey officials are sharing their thoughts and condolences after former President George H.W. Bush died overnight.

Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) said in a statement: “President Bush was not only a hero of World War II—brave, tenacious, fearless and awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism under fire—but he was also an extraordinary family man who deeply loved his wife Barbara and family, and spent his entire public life pursuing peace and an end to the Cold War.  He inspired selfless public service—a thousand points of light—and generosity and compassion for others, especially those in need.   As both President and Vice President, he visited my district and the biggest takeaway from those experiences, as well as working with him in Washington, was how gracious and kind and humble he was.  Despite being the most powerful political leader on earth, he regarded the issues and solutions to problems as far more important than himself—truly amazing. 

At this time of sorrow and loss, my wife Marie and I offer our deepest condolences to the Bush family and join the nation is expressing our gratitude and respect for an exceptional man who served our country with great honor and distinction.”

Gov. Phil Murphy called Bush, "A true American leader both at war and in peace, President Bush was kind, heroic, thoughtful, and of the highest professional and personal character. He lived a life in service to his fellow Americans and taught those he touched with his unwavering integrity. Having known him personally, Tammy and I were honored to claim him -- as well as Barbara and other family members -- as a friend. In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 2009, we had the singular opportunity to host the President and Barbara on what would be his final overseas trip. Highlighting his place as an honorary citizen of Berlin, I am proud to have had his portrait hung in the German Senate. Tammy and I send our condolences and prayers to the President's family -- his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren -- as well as the many friends sharing in his loss. We take comfort in knowing that, while we have lost him here on Earth, he has been reunited with Barbara and Robin in heaven. He leaves behind a legacy to which we should all aspire."

Senate President Steve Sweeney issued the following statement: "We all mourn the passing of President Bush and honor his legacy of public service. He was a man who embraced the selfless ideal of serving our country. He truly was one of the Greatest Generation of Americans who served and sacrificed with dignity and humility. He lived a life of meaning that was an inspiration to his family and an example to us all."

Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) also released a statement: "President George H.W. Bush was a patriot and a statesman. His record of service is nearly unparalleled: as an aviator in the Pacific Theater during World War II, a U.S. Representative, a UN Ambassador, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, the vice presidency, and finally the presidency. In each post, he was an embodiment of the straight-forth values that make America great. While a child of privilege, President Bush's entire life was defined by the honesty and duty to county forged in the lives of some many in the Greatest Generation. Today, we lose another member of that generation. I mourn his life, reflect on his service, and offer my condolences to his family."

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