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President George H.W. Bush Celebrates 90th Birthday With Parachute Jump

NPR | June 12, 2014 10:28 a.m.

Contributed By:

Krishnadev Calamur

Happy birthday, Mr. President.

Happy birthday, Mr. President.

Bob Levey, Getty Images

Former President George H.W. Bush is spending his 90th birthday doing what many of us might do. Wait – whom am I kidding? He jumped out of a helicopter.

The 41st president sent out this tweet today:

Bush, who can no longer use his legs, was harnessed to Sgt. 1st Class Mike Elliot, a retired member of the Golden Knights, the Army’s parachute team. The jump was made near the former president’s summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine.

He celebrated his 85th birthday the same way.

“It’s a great, exhilarating feeling,” he told reporters at the time. “I don’t feel a day over 84.”

At the time, he said he’d like to do it again when he turned 90. Today’s jump was his eighth.

The former president, as his White House biography notes, comes “from a family with a tradition of public service.” Here’s more:

“On his 18th birthday he enlisted in the armed forces. The youngest pilot in the Navy when he received his wings, he flew 58 combat missions during World War II. On one mission over the Pacific as a torpedo bomber pilot he was shot down by Japanese antiaircraft fire and was rescued from the water by a U. S. submarine. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for bravery in action.”

The Associated Press notes that other birthday festivities include “a private dinner with more than 200 relatives and friends, including some from his White House days: press secretary Marlin Fitzwater, White House counsel Boyden Gray and political director Ron Kaufman, McGrath said. His children, including former President George W. Bush and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.”

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