As Americans remember our 41st president, Vice President Mike Pence has yet another story that proves why the country will miss George H.W. Bush.
In a eulogy for the former president delivered in the Capitol rotunda, the vice president described a letter Bush sent Pence’s Marine aviator son four months before Bush’s death on Friday.
According to Pence, the letter came upon the occasion of his son’s first tailhook landing on an aircraft carrier.
“After a lifetime of writing letters, my son got one, just not too long ago,” Pence said.
“As I told two of his sons this weekend, when our son made his first tailhook landing as a Marine aviator on the USS George Herbert Walker Bush, I took the liberty of writing the ship’s namesake to ask for a small favor. I didn’t write him as a vice president to a former president. I just wrote as a proud dad of a Marine aviator to a former Navy pilot.
“I asked him to sign a picture of the flight deck that I could give to my son,” Pence continued. “Now, we were told by the staff that the president had long since ended the practice of signing autographs and we understood that.
“But little to my surprise, just in time for my son’s winging, there came not only a signed photograph but, of course, a letter. Hand-signed as well. August, 2018.
“In that letter, President Bush wrote to my son in his words, ‘Congratulations on receiving your wings of gold. I know how proud you and your family are at this moment.’
“And then in words that assured us that the letter came directly from him, he wrote, ‘Though we have not met, I share the pride your father has for you during this momentous occasion, and I wish you many C.A.V.U. days ahead. All the best, G. Bush,’” Pence said.
“I would come to learn that that acronym, ‘CAVU,’ for short is a term Navy pilots have used since World War II. It stands for ceiling and visibility unlimited.”
CAVU, of course, was also the code word that the Bush family and those in George H.W. Bush’s inner circle to let each other know that the former president and World War II pilot had passed. Word about it quickly spread.
CAVU, Mr. President.
Rest In Peace. pic.twitter.com/xgQCHVese0
— Ellsworth & Company (@ellsworthsocks) December 1, 2018
“CAVU was the kind of weather we Navy pilots wanted when we were to fly off our carrier in the Pacific,” Bush wrote in a letter he wrote to his family around the time of the first Iraq War and read to Larry King in 2006.
“We had little navigational instrumentation, so we wanted to CAVU, ceiling and visibility unlimited.
“And because of the five of you whose hugs I can still feel, whose own lives made me so proud, I can confidently tell my guardian angel that my life is CAVU and it will be that way until I die. All because of you,” Bush wrote.
Now, of course, it will be CAVU for the rest of eternity.
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