National Day of Mourning for President George H.W. Bush

The U.S. Embassy and Consulates will be closed on Wednesday, December 5 as employees join their fellow citizens in remembering our forty-first President of the United States.

On November 30, 2018, the United States and the world lost a great man. Through his essential authenticity, disarming wit, and unwavering commitment to faith, family, and country, President Bush inspired generations of his fellow Americans to public service — to be, in his words, ‘a thousand points of light’ illuminating the greatness, hope, and opportunity of America to the world.

President Bush led a great American life, one that combined and personified two of our Nation’s greatest virtues: an entrepreneurial spirit and a commitment to public service. Our country will greatly miss his inspiring example.

On the day he turned 18, 6 months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, George H.W. Bush volunteered for combat duty in the Second World War. The youngest aviator in United States naval history at the time, he flew 58 combat missions, including one in which, after taking enemy fire, he parachuted from his burning plane into the Pacific Ocean. After the war, he returned home and started a business. In his words, “the big thing” he learned from this endeavor was “the satisfaction of creating jobs.”

The same unselfish spirit that motivated his business pursuits later inspired him to resume the public service he began as a young man. First, as a member of Congress, then as Ambassador to the United Nations, Chief of the United States Liaison Office in China, Director of Central Intelligence, Vice President, and finally President of the United States, George H.W. Bush guided our Nation through the Cold War, to its peaceful and victorious end, and into the decades of prosperity that have followed. Through sound judgment, practical wisdom, and steady leadership, President Bush made safer the second half of a tumultuous and dangerous century.

Even with all he accomplished in service to our Nation, President Bush remained humble. He never believed that government — even when under his own leadership — could be the source of our Nation’s strength or its greatness. America, he rightly told us, is illuminated by “a thousand points of light,” “ethnic, religious, social, business, labor union, neighborhood, regional and other organizations, all of them varied, voluntary and unique” in which Americans serve Americans to build and maintain the greatest Nation on the face of the Earth. President Bush recognized that these communities of people are the true source of America’s strength and vitality.

It is with great sadness that we mark the passing of one of America’s greatest points of light, the death of President George H.W. Bush.

A Book of Condolence is open at the U.S. Embassy in Canberra on Thursday December 6, and Friday December 7 from 10:00am-12:00pm and 2:00pm-4:00pm on both days. 

We also encourage you to share your condolences and memories of President Bush on our virtual condolence book; however, if you would prefer to leave a private message, you can reach us at AskEmbassyCanberra@state.gov.

“I do not mistrust the future. I do not fear what is ahead. For our problems are large, but our heart is larger. Our challenges are great, but our will is greater.” – President George H.W. Bush during his inaugural address, Jan. 20, 1989.