During the memorial service in the Capitol Rotunda where former President George H.W. Bush will lie in state until Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence delivered the eulogy and closed his speech by sharing a personal story of his son, who is a Marine aviator.
Pence shared that he had a brief exchange with the 41st president when he wrote him a letter over the summer asking him to sign a photo that Pence wished to send to his son stationed on the USS George H.W. Bush.
After an initial response indicated that Bush no longer fulfilled signature requests, the ship’s namesake personally replied to the letter and congratulated Pence’s son. He also wished him clear skies and safe travels during his service.
The vice president correlated Bush’s response to his life of servitude and “the vision he had for his life, for his children, his children’s children, and his country: no barriers, no boundaries, no limits.”
Here’s a transcript of Pence’s remarks, provided via the Daily Wire:
I’m told that he started writing letters to his parents when he was 18 years old, and over time his circle of correspondence grew to include family, friends, advisers, staff, business associates, former Presidents, and just about anyone who would take the trouble to write him.
After a lifetime of writing letters, my son got one just not too long ago. As I told two of his sons this weekend, when our son made his first tailhook landing as a Marine aviator on the U.S.S. George Herbert Walker Bush, I took the liberty of writing that ship’s namesake to ask for a small favor.
I didn’t write to him as a Vice President to a former President, I just wrote as a proud dad of a Marine aviator to a former Navy pilot. I asked him to sign a picture of the flight deck that I could give to my son.
Now, we were told by the staff that the President had long since ended the practice of signing autographs, and we understood that. But little to my surprise, just in time for my son’s winging, there came not only a signed photograph, but, of course, a letter, hand-signed as well — August 2018. In that letter, President Bush wrote to my son, in his words, “Congratulations on receiving your ‘wings of gold.’ I know how proud you and your family are at this moment.”
And then in words that assured us that the letter came directly from him, he wrote, quote, “Though we have not met, I share the pride your father has for you during this momentous occasion. And I wish you many CAVU days ahead. All the best, G Bush.”
I would come to learn that that acronym, CAVU for short, is a term Navy pilots have used since World War II. It stands for Ceiling and Visibility Unlimited.
President Bush described CAVU, in his words, as “the kind of weather we Navy pilots wanted when we were to fly off our carrier in the Pacific.” And he once wrote a letter to his children saying that CAVU, in his words, “describes my own life as it has been over the years, as it is right now.” Ceiling and Visibility Unlimited.
You know, that may well describe the essence of this man. And it may well have been his vision. The vision he had for his life, for his children, his children’s children, and his country: no barriers, no boundaries, no limits.
See the below video for the speech (Skip to 6:40 for transcribed section):