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A Tribute to First Lady Barbara Bush

By Rebecca Price Janney, Apr 19 2018 04:02PM

Yesterday as I was driving in the Philadelphia suburbs and the Lehigh Valley, I kept seeing a billboard featuring a three-strand pearl necklace against a black backdrop. The second time I read, “Barbara Bush” and her dates. How fitting!

Of course, many other tributes are pouring in from around the country, and the world, expressing condolences over the passing of one of America’s favorite First Ladies. I think what stood out most about her was how “real” she was. One commentator said, “There was only one Barbara Bush. She wasn’t one way with one person and another way with someone else.”

She was fiercely loyal to her family and her country, and she spoke her mind with a quick wit, minus the sharp-tongue. She was a champion of literacy, volunteerism, patriotism, and family. People on both sides of the aisle adored her.

Two weeks ago at the Pennsylvania State Society of the DAR (Barbara Bush was a DAR), a woman came up to me smiling over something she’d read in my book, Great Women in American History about Abigail Adams. When I wrote this in 1996, Adams was the only woman to have had both a husband and a son in the White House. When George W. Bush was inaugurated in January 2001, Barbara Bush became the second woman in American history to hold that distinction.

She holds another record as well. She and her beloved husband, George H.W. Bush, were married the longest of any American President and First Lady at 73 years. Imagine!

In her 1994 memoir she said she considered herself and her husband, "the two luckiest people in the world, and when all the dust is settled and all the crowds are gone, the things that matter are faith, family and friends. We have been inordinately blessed, and we know that."

She most certainly blessed us, and we are profoundly grateful.

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