CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - A retired Marine recalls the memories he has of President George H.W. Bush visiting troops overseas as the country mourns his passing.
The 41st president died Friday night in Houston, Texas at the age of 94.
Barry Moore, now president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central Virginia, has interacted with the Bush family many times over the years.
“He really was genuine,” Moore said. “He didn’t put on any airs.”
Moore recalls several times he interacted with Bush in the late 80s and early 90s. One of those vivid memories Moore recalled was about an outhouse constructed overseas.
"We got all excited about that visit,” Moore said. “We're gonna have a visitor. And then someone said, wait a minute, what if the president has to use the bathroom? We're not going to have him sit over a slit trench."
It was January 1993, weeks before Bush would turn the presidency over to Bill Clinton. Bush traveled to Baidoa to visit troops deployed in the southwestern region of Somalia.
“They arranged for a chopper and an escort,” Moore said. “So he flew over 100 miles to get out in to the center area."
In preparation, Moore remembers the heightened anticipation and hard work of the troops to create something for the president.
That creation, of all things, an outhouse.
“You had all those young marine combat engineers beaming with pride as they showed the president out back of the encampment the single outhouse they had built in just four hours,” Moore said.
Moore recalled that memory as he flipped through a scrapbook his wife created of his deployment overseas.
It’s moments like that Moore said he won’t forget: Bush’s selfless attitude and thankfulness for the troops.
“When he came out, he gave us the thumbs up and kind of tidied himself a little bit and walked back on the plane and then waved to the troops on the chopper and they took off,” Moore recalled.
But Bush’s public service goes well beyond that, and Moore hopes as the country pays tribute to the 41st president this week they all think of him as one thing - a leader.
“He stepped forward; he led the nation,” Moore said. “He did it with all the integrity anyone could muster. He was a war hero, had been shot down in WWII. He checked all the boxes for a good person.”
And when it came to his family, Moore said Bush loved his wife, Barbara, very much.
“I always thought that was a great couple,” Moore said. “She was his pepper to salt, or sugar to spice, whatever you want to call it … He also could laugh. Had a great sense of humor and loved his family.”
Moore also played golf with President Bush in 1988, noting his strict rules for the game.
“He was a superb golfer, but strict,” Moore said. “If you hit it into the rough, he’d start counting on his watch.”
Moore hopes people can learn from President Bush’s legacy and dedication to public service.
“I think it sets an example for the rest of us in America,” Moore said. “Not just our jobs or families but serving each other is so critical and so important to being an American. He showed that all through his life.”