Remembering Former First Lady Barbara Bush

Like you, we were heartbroken to hear about the death of former First Lady, Mrs. Barbara Bush. As the country mourns the loss of a remarkable woman, The Salvation Army also mourns the loss of one of its fiercest advocates and most loyal friends.

Mrs. Bush wrote in 1993 that “George Bush and I have been the two luckiest people in the world, and when all the dust has settled and all the crowds are gone, the things that matter are faith, family, and friends.”

Connection with The Salvation Army

Mrs. Bush’s connection with The Salvation Army was forged at birth. She born in 1925 at a Salvation Army hospital in New York City, delivered by a family physician who volunteered at the hospital.

During her husband George H.W. Bush’s presidency, Mrs. Bush’s directive to staff was that “Each day we should do something to help others.”  She believed that everyone deserved an equal opportunity to succeed in life, and she used her considerable influence to advocate for the homeless, veterans, children and adults.

Saving the Red Kettle

She once singlehandedly saved The Salvation Army’s red kettle campaign in Washington D.C. During her first Christmas as First Lady, Mrs. Bush learned that several area malls were banning The Salvation Army’s annual fundraising campaign. She very publicly donated $10 to the campaign and effectively ended the ban. By the time that she rang the bell at Gallery Furniture in 2006, Mrs. Bush was a veteran. Of those that carried out the ministry of The Salvation Army, she said, “They’re the best, the most sacrificing people we know.”

Love of Literacy

Of course, Barbara Bush’s favorite cause was literacy. She believed that many of society’s social problems – crime, addiction, hunger, and homelessness – were rooted in illiteracy. She understood that by providing opportunities for more people to learn to read and write, many of these challenges could be alleviated. Her love of literacy and legacy for serving those in need lives on in the lives of her children and grandchildren, who also work tirelessly to promote equal opportunity for all.

Promoted to Glory

Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Bush Family. May they be comforted in knowing that the matriarch of their family made a positive impact on millions of lives and her legacy will never be forgotten. In The Salvation Army, we do not say that a person has died, but rather that they have been Promoted to Glory.  We salute Mrs. Bush for a life lived well and dedicated to serving others. We will never forget her words that “Working for God may not pay much, but the retirement benefits are out of this world.”