Acting governor Victor B. Hocog directed all U.S. and CNMI flags in the Commonwealth to be lowered to half-staff in honor and as a mark of respect for the passing of former President George H.W. Bush.
The 41st U.S. President died last Friday in his home in Houston, Texas. He was 94.
President Donald Trump also declared Dec. 5 as a National Day of Mourning, during which all executive departments and agencies of the federal government will be closed.
Hocog issued the proclamation yesterday to lower CNMI flags following Trump’s executive order to lower all U.S. flags in the White House, all public buildings and grounds, military posts, and naval stations and vessels.
All American flags in federal government agencies in Washington, D.C., the entire continental U.S., and its territories and possessions will be flown at half-staff for 30 days starting from Bush’s death on Nov. 30.
The President has also directed that the American flag be flown at half-staff at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, who is in Japan for an official trip, remembers Bush as an unselfish leader and a humble man during his seven decades of service as a naval pilot and later as a government official.
“He was an accomplished entrepreneur and a tireless public servant. He thought of the nation first, leaving his university studies to volunteer for combat duty during World War II, in which he flew 58 combat missions as the youngest aviator in U.S. naval history at the time,” Torres said in a statement.
“Lt. Go. Hocog and I extend our families’ sympathies and the condolences of the Commonwealth to the Bush family, as well as to the people of this great country that we are proud to be part of as we mourn his passing.”
Bush was one of the U.S. Navy’s youngest pilots. He flew combat missions in the Pacific theatre and survived being shot down by enemy fire.
He returned home after the war and moved his family to Texas to start a business, where he created new jobs within the oil industry. His passion for service led him to go into politics, beginning as a member of U.S. Congress.
Bush became the GOP chair, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, the Central Intelligence Agency director during the Cold War, U.S. envoy to China, and Vice President to former President Ronald Regan before becoming President in 1989.
Bush visited the CNMI when he was the country’s 43rd Vice President and met with former governor Pedro P. Tenorio and other Micronesian leaders on Saipan in October 1985 to tour the island’s World War II memorials and other battle sites.
Torres recalled Bush’s words during his 1989 inaugural address: “Our problems are large, but our heart is larger. Our challenges are great, but our will is greater. And if our flaws are endless, God’s love is truly boundless.”
Torres said that phrase from Bush is timely in the CNMI’s recovery efforts after two destructive typhoons. “May we here in the Marianas look to that level of wisdom and optimism as we move forward in our recovery efforts from Typhoon Mangkhut and Super Typhoon Yutu.”
Day of mourning
Although Dec. 5 has been declared a day of mourning, Trump said that heads of executive agencies would determine which offices and installations would remain open, and assign employees who would report for duty, based on national security, defense, and other public needs.
Amata Radewagen, American Samoa’s non-voting Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives, also honored Bush’s life and service.
“He was a great man. I was blessed to know him, and to see personally how he radiated a sense of kindness when I spoke with him. Americans always sensed that goodness about him, and the nation has loved him throughout his retirement years,” Radewagen said in a statement.
“He lived a widely admired life that was full of historic accomplishments, but also a consistent life of decency, dignity, humility and a quiet but deeply-rooted faith. He loved his friends and family, and valued people. He was good to American Samoa, and many of our veterans served when he was commander-in-chief.”
She recalled when Bush commended High Chief Pulu’s daughter Faiva Ae in giving her the Point of Light Award, based on the former President’s call for everyone to be part of the thousand points of light in making the world a better place.
Radewagen also remembered Bush’s responsibility of leading during the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany. “And the great advancement of human freedom represented by that event. He also led the world in unprecedented unity to free Kuwait from the aggression of Iraq’s dictatorial regime.”
“History will regard him highly as an honorable leader in the historic years when our nation transitioned out of the Cold War. From the time he was a young man, he served with unquestionable patriotism.”