Farewell, Barbara Bush

Former First Lady Barbara Bush has passed away in her home in Houston, Texas at 92 years old.

Bush joins Abigail Adams as the second woman in U.S. history to be both the wife of a president as well as the mother of another.

She also made history as the longest married couple in U.S. presidential history when she and her husband, Former President George H.W. Bush, celebrated their 73rd anniversary in January.

The former First Lady passed away due to pulmonary disease and heart failure, and had announced on Sunday, just two days before her passing, that she would not seek any further medical treatment for her conditions.

One of her most well-known accomplishments was the establishment of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, which she founded in 1989.

Bush was also a vocal advocate for the elimination of homelessness and poverty, as well as advocating for education and awareness surrounding HIV/AIDS, the epidemic of which had been largely ignored by the preceding president, Ronald Reagan, and his wife, Nancy.

The same year that Bush founded her literacy program, she made headlines when she spent an hour with a 20-month-old girl named Ashley who had been diagnosed with HIV.

The former First Lady visited Ashley at Grandma’s House, a Victorian home in Washington, D.C. which had been restored and renovated to accommodate and treat children with HIV/AIDS.

In a photo that moved the nation and arguably changed the course of the national discussion around HIV/AIDS, Bush hugged the young girl and cradled her close, saying:

 “You can hug and pick up AIDS babies and people who have the HIV virus [without hurting yourself]. There is a need for compassion.”

Indeed, a greater need than ever before.

 

 

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