We lost two great American role models this week. They were different from one another in many ways, but each gave us ethical examples to live up to.
I met Barbara Bush 30 years ago. I lived in New Hampshire, and during the first-in-the-nation Presidential Primaries there, New Hampshirites got to meet all the candidates if they wanted. As I walked up to the West Street Wardhouse in Concord, there big as life was Barbara Bush, bright of eye and smile. She looked me in the eye (I remember her being my height) and shook my hand (a strong hand-shake, like a man’s). She said, “I’m Barbara Bush, and I’d like you to vote for my husband.” I replied “Well, ma’am, I’m committed to Jack Kemp, but I think your husband is going to win the nomination, and I’ll vote for him in the election.”
She did a little double-take, and then, without losing a bit of her radiance, she answered enthusiastically “I’ll accept that!”
Her life, including a marriage that lasted longer than this old man’s long life, was exemplary.
In the gun world, we lost R. Lee Ermey, “the Gunny.” I never got to meet him face to face. We both enjoyed Glock matches but were never at the same one at the same time, and at the SHOT Show and NRA meetings, I had too many appointments to stand in the long waiting line of his countless fans to meet him. The Evil Princess did, though, and when Gunny learned that her late husband, her daughter, and her grandson were Marines, he made extra time to chat with her. I never met anyone who knew R. Lee Ermey and didn’t find him a kind, good man, a Vietnam vet who worked tirelessly for veterans’ rights.
May they both rest in well-earned peace.