Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Pres. George H.W. Bush to make birthday parachute jump

Jun. 12, 2014 - 12:25PM   |  
  • Filed Under

KENNEBUNKPORT, MAINE — Former President George H.W. Bush can no longer use his legs, but he isnt letting that prevent him from keeping a vow made five years ago: to jump from an aircraft on his 90th birthday, which is Thursday.

The nations 41st president announced via twitter that he intends to jump from a helicopter with a retired member of the Golden Knights, the Armys parachute team, near his summer home on the Maine coast.

Its a wonderful day in Maine in fact, nice enough for a parachute jump, he tweeted.

The announcement was kept secret until the last minute, partly to give Bush himself the option of bagging it. The forecast Thursday called for clouds and scattered showers across southern Maine.

Spokesman Jim McGrath said Bush likes both a surprise and an adrenaline rush.

Its vintage George Bush, McGrath said. Its that passion for life. Its wanting to set a goal, wanting to achieve it. Im sure part of it is sending a message to others that even in your retirement years you can still find challenges.

The first time Bush jumped from an airplane was when his plane was shot down in World War II over the Pacific. Later, he decided to jump from a plane of his own accord and marked his 75th, 80th and 85th birthdays by skydiving.

He said on his 85th birthday that hed like to do it again on his 90th.

Other birthday festivities included a private dinner with more than 200 relatives and friends, including some from his White House days: press secretary Marlin Fitzwater, White House counsel Boyden Gray and political director Ron Kaufman, McGrath said. His children, including former President George W. Bush and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, will be there, McGrath said.

Kennebunkport is a special place for the president. As a boy, he visited the family home at Walkers Point every summer, except during World War II. The retreat was later dubbed his summer White House.

During his presidential years, Bush was known for jogging, tennis and fast-paced golf but now uses a wheelchair or scooter because of a form of parkinsonism that has robbed him of use of his legs.

Hes lost his mobility, but he hasnt lost his heart. Hes still the genuine person that weve come to cherish, said Ken Raynor, a friend and pro at the Cape Arundel Golf Club.

While his activities are now limited, Bush still fulfills his need for speed on his boat, Fidelity. Hes always loved going fast. He loves the speed. He loves the adrenaline, McGrath said.

Jon Meacham, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and history who is writing a book about Bush, said the former president is used to being in motion, so it isnt easy for him to slow down.

The president feels lucky nonetheless, Meacham said.

He had a remarkable great run of good health and good family and good friends, he said. So I know his chief view of life at 90 is one of immense gratitude. Hes very grateful for his parents, hes grateful for Barbara, hes grateful for his kids. He knows hes one of the luckiest guys who ever lived, really.

Answers by RallyPoint

Join trending discussions in the military's #1 professional community. See what members like yourself have to say from across the DoD.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan
Rates

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.


This Week's Army Times

This Week's Army Times

'Get on the trail'
Drill sergeant duty is tough, but offers serious rewards

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

Classifieds
MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.
Woman who cried rape
(3 replies)
   Last Post: TJMAC77SP
        May 3, 2014 1:32 PM
   Last Post: garhkal
        May 1, 2014 5:03 PM
Cliven Bundy
(45 replies)
   Last Post: Chief_KO
        Apr 26, 2014 9:49 AM
Handbooks

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook