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Dear Bill,” George H.W. Bush wrote Jan. 20, 1993, to the Democrat about to succeed him as president. “When I walked into this office just now I felt the same sense of wonder and respect that I felt four years ago. I know you will feel that, too.

“I wish you great happiness here,” he wrote. “I never felt the loneliness some Presidents have described.

“There will be very tough times, made even more difficult by criticism you may not think is fair. I’m not a very good one to give advice; but just don’t let the critics discourage you or push you off course.

“You will be our President when you read this note. I wish you well. I wish your family well.

“Your success now is our country’s success. I am rooting hard for you.

“Good Luck — George”

This letter written by President George H.W. Bush as he left office after one term was brief but oh so very powerful and genuine. Pres. Bush underlining of the word “our” for emphasis of his support of the now president was so touching. When you consider that President Clinton had just won over the incumbent President Bush this letter is even more remarkable. A lesson for all of us about grace, humility and strength of character. President Bush was a true public servant.

His friendships were real, deep and he made lasting connections. Over and over I read and watched reports where some of the world’s most powerful people said that their friendship with President Bush was one of the greatest gifts of their life.

Former Secretary of State James Baker credited President Bush with saving his life after losing his wife and facing parenthood of three small children alone. Baker was with Pres. Bush massaging his hands and feet until he died Nov. 30 at age 94.

With today’s toxic political divide on all sides, watching Pres. Bush be honored and loved by world leaders and politicians from the left, right and in between makes me hopeful. Whether you agreed with his politics or not, it is hard to not agree that the world lost a great and good one with the passing of number 41. He was truly world class.

His last words spoken were to his son, President number 43, George Bush. They were “I love you, too.” What a life well-lived. God bless and God speed President Bush.

NOEL WILKERSON HOLMES is the Publisher/Managing Editor of the Pleasanton Express. You may E-mail her at nwilkersonholmes@pleasantonexpress.com.

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