Last Saturday I found myself watching the funeral services for former First Lady Barbara Bush. I didn’t set out to do that, but I turned on the television and there it was. Mrs. Bush served honorably and admirably as First Lady from most accounts I’ve heard; her farewell celebration deserved viewing by the populace. So I sat and listened.
I wasn’t tuned in to politics when George H. W. Bush was in the White House and Barbara was the First Lady. However, I remember President Bush’s 1,000 Points of Light initiative which encouraged volunteerism because I did volunteer work during that time and was part of two organizations that received the Daily Point of Light Award.
Each First Lady has a project that she promotes which becomes part of her legacy. Mrs. Bush believed that people had a right to be literate. Her foundation focused on teaching adults to read. Yet, from what I heard during the service, her legacy was more than literacy. It was about her many roles in life — wife, mother, grandmother, and friend. She cherished her family.
The service honoring Mrs. Bush was an interesting look at her life; however, what I was witnessing was the passing of a time, an era when leaders had some knowledge of government and the world, sophistication, dignity, patriotism. (They were not perfect)
The longer I live the better I understand why America’s Greatest Generation was the one that Barbara Bush was part of. My parents and teachers were part of that generation. They were flawed humans, but they understood sacrifice, service, commitment, and duty. They had a strong work ethic; self-respect and respect for others; they valued truth, a good name, and family.
Are those values null and void today? Is the younger generation aware of them? Actually, it was not the youth that I thought about as I watched the service. It was those in government, those in power who show such poor examples of behavior and decorum. They are the people who cause me to ask what happened to encourage discord in the public forum. Why are we so blatantly rude, hostile and mean-spirited? What has happened to decency?
I know times change, but for the worse? I used to believe that humankind was steadily evolving from a lower state to a higher one. Now, I’m not sure. To me, this time feels like a car with its gear in reverse; the brakes won’t work; it’s heading backwards towards a cliff…