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The Legacy of Barbara Bush

The recent passing of Barbara Bush has spawned an influx of coverage highlighting the beloved former First Lady’s achievements and character traits that made Americans nationwide fall in love with her – regardless of political beliefs. In a time when politics are more polarizing than ever and our country seems irreparably divided, the unifying power of a woman like Barbara Bush seems that much more important and notable. During her time as First Lady, she continually displayed kindness and compassion, and she is known just as much for her quick-wit and cleverness as she is for her famous fake pearls. Additionally, for a woman so defined by the men around her, she nonetheless blazed her own trail as a fierce advocate for civil rights and family literacy.

Here are some of Barbara Bush’s most famous quotes that highlight why she captured the hearts of the American public.

  • On human decency and kindness: “Never lose sight of the fact that the most important yardstick of your success will be how you treat other people—your family, friends and co-workers, and even strangers you meet along the way,” she said.
  • On the importance of family: “At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal,” she said. “You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child or a parent.”
  • On the importance of appreciating life: “You have two choices in life: You can like what you do, or you can dislike it. I have chosen to like it.”
  • On the importance of literacy: “Believe in something larger than yourself… Get involved in some of the big ideas of our time. I chose literacy because I honestly believe that if more people could read, write and comprehend, we would be that much closer to solving so many of the problems that plague our nation and our society.”