Since 1997, The Houston Airport System has had the honor of providing a lasting tribute to the 41st President of the United States, George H.W. Bush. It’s a tribute he was able to appreciate in life and he was gracious about it, in return, contributing his time to mark important moments such as the 40th Anniversary celebration of the airport that bears his name Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport.
Passengers will find the Bush name on monument signs coming to and from the airport. A hall with the centerpiece statue of his likeness and pictorial excerpts from his life story adorn Terminal C. So, upon his passing, there was not a need to create new venues, but rather, simply, to call attention to those lasting tributes that already existed.
Floral arrangements contributed by Houston Airports, United Airlines and other business partners were placed at the tribute hall. These markers drew the attention of travelers who paused for a moment to reflect, to take pictures and to learn of the man who had been an aviator, a diplomat and a president; yet, who was most proud of his roles as husband, father and grandfather. Some passengers even chose to leave a few tributes of their own in the form of flowers, trinket aircraft, and small electric candles eliciting memories of the President’s Thousand Points of Light, his call to service.
When local news media were informed of the growing tribute, they too participated offering passengers an opportunity express their opinions of the man and sharing our observance with the whole community.
President Bush’s response to having the airport named after him was both humble, and pragmatic. He admitted that when he was first informed, he was more concerned that he might have to field the concerns from passengers offering suggestions on how to make the airport better. It was his way of saying, if its going to bear my name, then you must be committed to service.
Houston Airports employees are committed to service as one way to pay a lasting tribute to a man who has meant so much to Houston.
Houston Aviation Director Mario Diaz Statement on the death of President H.W. Bush
"As much as any other individual in history, President George H.W. Bush personified the City of Houston. Like his adopted hometown, President Bush was intelligent, tough and a key player on the global stage. After serving courageously in World War II and attending Yale University, he could have chosen any number of varied careers, each of them almost assuredly leading to a luxury filled workday and dramatic economic success. But the President chose instead a more difficult and winding path, one traveling past the oil fields of West Texas, through the halls of CIA headquarters in Virginia, over the Great Wall of China itself and eventually, ending at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. with the world’s most coveted 'temp job.'
I personally believe that this adventurous streak of his stemmed from an 'aviator’s spirit.' After all, he was already a Naval Aviator three days prior to his 19th birthday, the youngest to accomplish the feat up to that time. Seventy-two years later and George Herbert Walker Bush would still be celebrating his love for all things skyward, marking his 90th birthday with one final skydive.
George Bush Intercontinental Airport was named for the 41st President of the United States for this very reason, because he had a full appreciation for the various ways in which the field of aviation could enrich the cultural lives of individuals and maximize the economic potential of entire nations. During his inaugural address in 1989, President Bush said, 'We meet on democracy’s front porch, a good place to talk as neighbors and as friends.' Mister President, your neighbors and friends would like to take a moment to thank you for an amazing conversation."