George H. W. Bush Monument in Sesquicentennial Park, Houston
It was bright and sunny, with endless blue skies overhead—one of those days that just had to be savored and enjoyed. It was only to reach a high in the lower 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and the humidity was low, which is a rarity in our fair city. All thoughts of any projects around the house fled our minds. It was not a day to worry about weeding the garden or washing some windows. Those and other chores could be shelved for a while.
My husband and I decided to head downtown and photograph some sites when the streets would not be packed with cars and people, such as takes place during the workweek every Monday to Friday. I hope you enjoy these images taken from the George H.W. Bush Monument in Sesquicentennial Park in downtown Houston, Texas, as much as we did taking them.
George H. W. Bush
As many of you know, George Herbert Walker Bush was the 41st President of the United States. He served one term from 1989 to 1993 as President.
He is much revered in Houston. President Bush and his beloved wife Barbara have participated in many philanthropic causes in our city and elsewhere. One Thanksgiving my mother, husband and I went down to the George R. Brown Convention Center and helped dish out food to the homeless and hungry. The former President and Barbara were there with their sleeves rolled up and they were spending precious time doing the same thing.
This is a true story. My husband was chairing an event for our local Printing Museum some years ago and President Bush separated himself from the crowd of formally attired attendees to go over and introduce himself to the harpist who was entertaining us for the cocktail portion preceding dinner that evening. He chatted with her a while and told her that he was enjoying her music among other things. That exemplifies the type of qualities that made up this thoughtful and caring man!
No matter which end of the political spectrum one follows, qualities like this in a person deserve admiration. From what I have seen and knew of him, I am sure he was as comfortable talking with dishwashers as he was with foreign ministers and heads of state.
The location of the George H.W. Bush Monument is located on a hill within Sesquicentennial Park, which was developed in downtown Houston along Buffalo Bayou, which runs through the city, eventually finding its way to the Gulf of Mexico.
Sesquicentennial means that it celebrates the 150th birthday of the formation of Houston, and the first part of the park opened in 1986. Subtract 150 years, and you now know that Houston was founded in 1836.
A second portion was completed in 1998, and this beautiful park has hiking and biking paths, manicured green lawn spaces, tiered concrete seating along Buffalo Bayou, and even some waterfalls grace this part of the city in which many of our theaters are located.
While there are not floating barges where people can tour and even dine as in the Riverwalk area of San Antonio, we do have annual events like the Buffalo Bayou Regatta and other festivals.
It is a welcoming green space in the heart of the city!
George H. W. Bush Monument
This splendid monument was dedicated December 2, 2004, and was a gift to the citizens of Houston. The funding was privately donated, including endowment funding, in which to keep the monument in good shape for the future.
Artist Chas Fagan
Chas Fagan was selected to create this eight-foot-tall bronze sculpture of the George H. W. Bush likeness. He did an excellent rendering of our former President in a relaxed pose with one hand in his pocket.
The statue weighs a whopping 650 pounds! He also created the eagles, and also, there are four bas relief images in bronze set into the low stone circular wall, which partially wraps around the statue as it faces the downtown skyline of Houston.
Each bas relief creation portrays significant times during Bush's life. On the backside of the stone wall are quotes from the President etched into the limestone.
George Bush Quotes
This was etched into stone on the backside of the Bas relief showing the Berlin Wall being dismantled. The artist symbolically portrayed Presidents Bush and Gorbachev appearing to be standing in agreement and shaking hands as they watch from the sidelines.
"UNTIL NOW, THE WORLD WE HAVE KNOWN HAS BEEN A WORLD DIVIDED - A WORLD OF BARBED WIRE, CONCRETE BLOCK, CONFLICT, AND COLD WAR. NOW, WE CAN SEE A NEW WORLD COMING INTO VIEW - A WORLD IN WHICH THERE IS A VERY REAL PROSPECT OF A NEW WORLD ORDER." 1991
"AMERICA IS NEVER WHOLLY HERSELF UNLESS SHE IS ENGAGED IN HIGH MORAL PRINCIPLE. WE AS A PEOPLE HAVE SUCH A PURPOSE TODAY. IT IS TO MAKE KINDER THE FACE OF THE NATION, AND GENTLER THE FACE OF THE WORLD." 1989
And still another quote:
"FROM NOW ON IN AMERICA, ANY DEFINITION OF A SUCCESSFUL LIFE MUST INCLUDE SERVICE TO OTHERS." 1989
He and his wife Barbara strongly believed in this!
Who Was George H. W. Bush?
George Herbert Walker Bush has had a most illustrious and successful history during his multifaceted career. He was born in 1924 and bore the names of his grandfathers.
Trained as one of the youngest naval aviators in Corpus Christi, Bush was inspired to join the military forces of the United States like so many young and patriotic people did after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He had a brush with death when his airplane was shot down by enemy fire during World War II and was the only one who survived that incident. Fortunately, he was rescued from the sea.
After marrying his sweetheart Barbara and heading to Texas, he became a successful entrepreneur in the energy business.
George Bush's entry into politics saw him becoming the chairman of the Harris County Republican Party, which led to successive and relevant jobs, his second being a U.S. Congressman for the 7th congressional district of Texas, which is a part of Houston.
He then became an ambassador to the United Nations for 2 years appointed by President Nixon.
Under President Ford, he functioned effectively as an ambassador to China before there even being an embassy there. This was in the early days of U.S./China relations, and Bush did an excellent job of opening up communications between the two countries.
Bush next saw public service as the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. After a hiatus from public service, he once again entered the main stage by serving as Vice President under President Ronald Reagan.
George Herbert Walker Bush took the office of President and was inaugurated on January 20, 1989, as our 41st President of the United States.
First Lady Barbara Bush
I once attended a Ronald McDonald House function where Barbara Bush was the guest speaker. Her speech was about service to others, and she included much humor about things in her life as well as the former President's, which kept every person in rapt attention that day amidst intermittent bursts of laughter.
Some of it concerned the antics of their dog Millie. Were you aware that their smart dog wrote a book? It is true! It is called Millie's Book: As Dictated to Barbara Bush. It is delightful! I really enjoyed reading it, as I am sure many people have.
After her talk, we were able to form a line, and she took the time to speak to every person and shake our hands. And for those of you who might want to know...yes, she was wearing her signature pearls around her neck.
My mother and I were thrilled to be able to have this close interaction with the first lady. From there, she was headed over to the Children's Hospital in the Texas Medical Center for another function. I am confident that she brightened many lives that day!
I hope you enjoyed this look at this special place in Sesquicentennial Park. The address is 400 Texas Street, Houston, Texas 77204. I plan to show more photos of the park in other posts.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Peggy Woods