LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - East Texas veterans are remembering George H.W. Bush not only as a war hero but as what they call an underrated leader.
Flags flew at half-staff at VFW 1183 in Longview Thursday. Inside, veterans watched the final journey of the 41st president.
“All veterans deserve respect and admiration for their courage and devotion to duty, especially one who went on to serve as commander-in-chief,” said U.S. Air Force veteran David Applewhite, who served during the Vietnam War.
Veterans say we shouldn’t remember Bush as just a president, but someone who personified a lifetime of service to his country.
“The man had experience like no other. He’s somebody I can look back at and say that’s what I want to be , that’s the type of person that’s a true leader,” said U.S. Army veteran Monty Hudson.
Joseph Burke is a Gulf War veteran. He knew that then-President Bush was well aware of the tough decision to send young men to war.
“I had a lot of respect for him because as we got sent over, it was nice knowing that we had a veteran who experienced stuff himself. making that choice,” Burke said.
Many think the former president was not given enough credit as a strong leader.
“I think he’s underrated in that fact that he was willing to stand up to other countries, and say we’re the United States ,and we’re not going to be bullied. I’m proud to call him a brother, sad to see him go. We will remember and recognize,” said USAF veteran John Ashcraft, who served during the Vietnam War.
“You know it had to be some of that military training and bearing that got him where he was. Just the work ethic that he had and being able to stand up to people the way he did, and earn their respect,” said Vietnam War veteran Rick Homer.
Members of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1183 and Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 987 came together to remember the former president.