Many moons ago when George H.W. Bush Sr. was president, I had the honor of visiting the White House with a very special small group. It was during a tour of the United States that was given to close family members of British soldiers who perished during the first Gulf War. This small sad group was given the opportunity to visit not only the White House, but also the United Nations in New York plus, what else, Disneyland in Los Angeles. They also went to Honolulu where they were greeted at the Palace by George Ariyoshi, then governor of the State of Hawaii. The tour was sponsored by AmericanTours International and I was hired to assist with press relations during the trip.
Barbara Bush and her husband, the president, could not have been more kind to each and every member of the group and thanked them for their loved one's sacrifice in this conflict. Remember, only a few countries stood with the United States and it was a very controversial war. History tells it's own story, so I won't go into it here any further.
My own memory of meeting Barbara and the president is that we talked about Kauai, an island that the president loves. We talked about the beauty of the island, the natural water slides and Coco Palms, the first hotel to have a torch lighting ceremony dreamt up by owner Grace Guslander. And, of course, that Elvis Presley filmed "Blue Hawaii" there. You see, I used to live in the islands and frequently went to Kauai in the 1970s as the public relations and advertising director for Island Holidays, a hotel chain throughout the islands that included Coco Palms which was wiped out during hurricane Iniki in the early 1990s and which is in the process of being rebuilt now more than 25 years later.
As an aside, I lived in Hawaii for a combined 26 years of my life and still have a real estate broker's license in Hawaii although I spend most of my time in California where I also have broker's licence and have my main office in Carmel-by-the-Sea.
Barbara graciously posed for this photo with me, one that I treasure immensely. My heartfeld condolences to her family and especially to former President Bush, Barbara's husband of 73 years.