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Barbara Bush, the wife of President George H.W. Bush and the mother of President George W. Bush, has passed away at age 92, after a long illness.

It was just a few days ago that Mrs. Bush announced that she was going on “comfort care,” and no longer would be receiving medical treatments. When she passed away, her husband of 73 years reportedly was holding her hand.
KC's View:
There is no question that Barbara Bush was part of a great American family and a great American story - she and her husband moved more than two-dozen times during their lives, much of the time because of their shared commitment to public service in various forms.

But when you read about Barbara Bush, you realize the degree to which she connected and influenced the American public, on issues such as literacy and civil rights. There was the time that she went to a hospital and hugged AIDS patients at a time when such people were being shunned and marginalized.

And, of course, there was the time in 1990 when she gave a commencement speech to graduating seniors at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, where there had been protests about her appearance.

Mrs. Bush ignored the protests and went to give the speech, bring with her Raisa Gorbachev, the wife of the Russian president. (The Berlin Wall had fallen months earlier.) In her speech, she quoted Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and said to never forget that “you are a human being first and those human connections — with spouses, with children, with friends — are the most important investments you will ever make.”

And, famously, she said, “And who knows? Somewhere out in this audience may even be someone who will one day follow in my footsteps, and preside over the White House as the president’s spouse …and I wish him well.”

She got a prolonged standing ovation.