Barbara Bush kept one letter from her husband of 73 years tucked safely inside a scrapbook.
Written in blue ink on Dec. 12, 1943, George H.W. Bush wrote the letter to his then-fiancée during World War II.
George was a U.S. Navy Pilot at the time and his letter, tweeted by presidential historian Michael Beschloss, begins, “My darling Bar.”
“This should be a very easy letter to write — words should come easily and in short it should be simple for me to tell you how desperately happy I was to open the paper and see the announcement of our engagement, but somehow I can’t possibly say all in a letter I should like to,” he began.
The longest-married couple in presidential history met at a Christmas dance when they were still teenagers.
George described the meeting in his autobiography. He was a naval aviator in training at the time and he asked a friend — over the band playing Glenn Miller songs — if he knew the girl across the room in a green and red holiday dress.
“I’m not much at recalling what people wear, but that particular occasion stands out in my memory,” he said.
They were engaged in August 1943 and, according to George’s letter, their engagement was made public on Dec. 12 of that same year.
“I love you, precious, with all my heart and to know that you love me means my life. How often I have thought about the immeasurable joy that will be ours someday. How lucky our children will be to have a mother like you –“
His letter goes on to talk about the war and how he “had anxiously looked forward to the day when we would go abroad and set to sea,” but Barbara changed that. All he could think of was getting back to her.
“This may sound melodramatic, but if it does it is only my inadequacy to say what I mean. Bar, you have made my life full of everything I could ever dream of — my complete happiness should be a token of my love for you.”
The lovebirds were married on Jan. 6, 1945 after George was shot down over the Pacific Ocean. He carried the name “Barbara” on his Gunman Avenger torpedo bomber.
At the age of 92, Barbara passed away on April 17, 2018, after she declined further medical treatment for her long battle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and congestive heart failure.
On Nov. 30, 2018, WWII hero and 41st president of the United States, George H.W. Bush passed away at the age of 94. Son, George W. issued a statement following his father’s passing, saying that he “was a man of the highest character.”
Our hearts go out to the Bush family during this difficult time.
This post was updated on Dec. 1, 2018, at 8:15 am MST to include the date of George H.W. Bush’s death.
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