Friday, June 12, 2009
By George, that's Bush up there!
Say this much for the 41st president of the United States, when he celebrates a milestone birthday, it's more than just a quiet dinner or blowing out 85 candles.
George H.W. Bush marked his 85th birthday today in the same way he did his 75th and 80th. He leaped from a plane before parachuting safely near his Maine home.
Bush made the tandem jump from 10,500 feet with Sgt. 1st Class Mike Elliott of the Army’s Golden Knights, who guided them to a gentle landing on the lawn of St. Ann’s Church.
“It’s a great, exhilarating feeling,” he told the Associated Press after he was removed from his harness. “I don’t feel a day over 84.”
He said he enjoyed the jump so much that he planned to do it again when he turns 90.
When he was president, Bush was an avid jogger, speed golfer, fisherman and tennis player.
He told reporters that he jumped Friday for two reasons: to experience the exhilaration of free-falling and to show that seniors can remain active and do dumb, I mean, fun things.
“Just because you’re an old guy, you don’t have to sit around drooling in the corner,” Bush said. “Get out and do something. Get out and enjoy life.”
All five of Bush’s children, including former President George W. Bush, were there, along with 14 grandchildren, two brothers and a sister.
Actually more power to the senior Bush. The man is probably one of the most underappreciated statesmen of our time. That he can do something like that at age 85 is pretty remarkable.
Bush’s first parachute jump came when his plane was shot down over the Pacific in 1944 during World War II. He bailed out at 1,500 feet after a bombing mission over ChiChi Jima.