Bellamy Brothers / Larry Gatlin / Lee Greenwood / Naomi Judd / Phil Vassar / Randy Travis / Tanya Tucker

Country Music Reacts to the Passing of President George H.W. Bush

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“The country lost a great American hero…the world lost a wonderful human being whose greatest concern was for others, and for that which is right. President George Bush, Sr.’s steady leadership encouraged us all to work together to make a difference in his “Thousand Points of Light” initiative, which I was blessed to be a part of. Also, performing at his 1989 Presidential Inaugural Gala was an honor I shall never forget. I remember celebrating his 80th birthday with him. I will never take for granted the kindness he and Barbara, and the entire Bush family have shown me over the years. President Bush served our country well. He laughed often and lived well. He collected accomplishments, not accolades. His example as a faithful Christian father, friend, and family man never wavered. Thank you, Sir, for the difference you made in my life and millions of others… you will be missed and you will remain a true ‘point of light’—Forever and Ever, Amen.” – Randy Travis

Photo Courtesy: Naomi Judd

“One of the highlights of my exciting career was when Former President George H.W. Bush asked me to introduce him at his rallies during his campaign for re-election. I got the unbelievable opportunity to fly on Air Force One, and ride with him in the Presidential limo. I was a witness to his constant kindness to everyone in his path: doormen, waiters and especially our military. I saw him treat his staff with respect, like they were friends. He had such reverence for his office. He never entered the Oval Office without a suit. I consider him a friend.”
–Naomi Judd

Photo Courtesy: Tanya Tucker

“I have so many memories with Bush Sr. I remember once when I was in Vegas I got a call from him asking if I’d join him for lunch in an hour! We had a grand time. Daddy George, as I called him. We had bowls of fabulous Beluga caviar. I remember he asked me if I liked it. So many memories. Thank you, President George H.W. Bush for your service and your sacrifice. Our great country needed you and we are so blessed we had you for our president! Rest easy and say hello to my mother and daddy up there. I miss them too!”
–Tanya Tucker

The Gatlin Brothers with George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush at the
former president’s inauguration (1989)

“I first met president George H.W. Bush in 1964 when Steve, Rudy and I sang for his congressional run. He lost. Later when he became vice-president, I walked up to him in the White House to say hello. He stuck out his hand and said, ‘Hey Larry Gatlin… you’re one of those little snotty nose kids who sang for my campaign in Odessa in 1964.’ I said, ‘Yessir, I am.’ He said, ‘It worked out better this time. We won!’ Rest in peace, old friend.”
-Larry Gatlin

“I had the great privilege of traveling across this great nation with President Bush 41. Our time as friends took us from the White House to Camp David – which included Air Force One – to inaugurating the Points of Light Foundation at Disney World, to the opening of my theater in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, to Houston, Kennebunkport and every place where proud Americans reside. He was the best man, most generous patriot, and greatest friend a man could ask for.

President and Mrs. Bush invited me to stay overnight at the White House where I slept in the Lincoln bedroom but never actually slept. The President and I watched Lawrence of Arabia in the theater room with just the President and I — played several songs on piano for him in the foyer. Then I stayed up all night reading the Gettysburg Address.

There are many events on the campaign trail when we had personal time together. We were in the motorcade leaving one event when he pointed out the window at a single person standing on the sidewalk his quote was – “this is how you win an election – one person at a time.”

At each event he would speak and I would sing following his speech. At one event in Indiana my music track failed to play. After the second time with no music playing I sang without the track. He congratulated me when we got into the car.

He treated me and my wife Kim like family and made us feel so comfortable around him. Sometimes I would pinch myself that I was in the presence of this war hero and giant of a man – the President of the United States. He was so kind to our sons Dalton and Parker to send notes upon their birth through their graduations.

Our last time to see President Bush was in Kennebunkport in August. We thought it might have been our final goodbye. He sang the words of my song “God Bless The USA” as I sat at his piano & played the song that tied us together for so many years. It was perhaps the proudest moment I had ever sang the song. Just me, 41, Kim and the Secret Service agents – it was a moment that made me such a Proud American and proud that I could bring him a moment of joy!”
– Lee Greenwood

After receiving “The Prez” guitar — a present — from Sam Moore of the former Sam and Dave soul duo, President Bush, left, plays the instrument with Republican National Committee Chairman Lee Atwater on Jan. 21, 1989. (Rick Lipski/The Washington Post)

“My wife Joyce and I are personally saddened by the passing of one of the most honorable decent men our country ever had serve as its President.

I had the honor of performing at his 1989 Inaugural concert Joyce co-produced ‘The Celebration for Young Americans’, his and Barbara’s 50th wedding anniversary celebration, where The Oak Ridge Boys helped celebrate them, The Points of Light Kennedy Center Concert & Fundraiser and last year’s One America Appeal hurricane relief concert at Texas A & M in College Station.

Our strength and comfort goes out to the entire Bush family who we’ve been fortunate to know, see and feel their collective love and admiration for Papa Bush who has now gone to join the love of his life, Barbara.

Rest in heaven President Bush with Mama and that beautiful little girl you two lost but never forgot, Robin. God speed sir.”
– Sam Moore

 

“We went up to play for then President George W. Bush in New Hampshire and I just had rotator cuff surgery. I didn’t want to play with the sling on so I took it off. After we played, Susan, my wife, came in and said the Bush family wants to meet everyone. So I took my sling back off and Former President George H.W. Bush gave me the ultimate Presidential handshake and almost brought me to my knees because I was in so much pain. I had to ice my shoulder afterwards, but what a moment. RIP Mr. President. What a wonderful man and thank you for your service to our country.”
–David Bellamy, Bellamy Brothers

“I had the honor of meeting Former President George H.W. Bush and Mrs. Bush on several occasions. I was amazed by his character. He was always so humble and gracious. They were amazing people.”
–Phil Vassar

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