In 1990, small protests arose ahead of the commencement ceremony at Wellesley College. Some students at the prestigious women’s college expressed discontent at the choice of a commencement speaker, Barbara Bush, saying that she was just a housewife ridden on her husband’s coattails and thus unqualified for the invitation.
Yet, she took the stage wearing a gentle smile on the day of celebration. What otherwise would have been a typical commencement speech turned into a prominent address that still resonates today when she said “And who knows? Somewhere out in this audience may even be someone who will one day follow in my footsteps, and preside over the White House as the president’s spouse. I wish him well!” The audience erupted in applause as the then first lady brought dignity and spirit to the podium, despite the voices of opposition against her standing there, and conveying her hope of having a “female president” in the future.
Bush was the wife of the 41st president of the United States, George H.W. Bush, and the mother of the 43rd, George W. Bush. Lauded as “the first lady of the greatest generation,” she was remembered at her funeral on Saturday (local time) in Houston, Texas. Among those who attended, many women were spotted wearing blue dresses and fake pearl necklaces, obviously in honor of Bush who was famous for her white hair and her signature fake pearls.
The televised service was also attended by four former presidents and four current and former first ladies, namely the Bush family, former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, current first lady Melania Trump, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former first lady Michelle Obama. U.S. media said that the service was unprecedented as that of a first lady and it was impressive that former presidents from different parties shared their sorrow with one another. For sure, this is a scene that Koreans must be envious of, whose two former presidents have been imprisoned. The Secret Service of the White House gives a code name to each of the president’s family, and the code name of Mrs. Bush was “tranquility.” Just like her code name, she will be remembered as a calm and caring first lady by all Americans.