A former Missouri senator who spent 24 years on Capitol Hill praises former President George H.W. Bush, who died Friday in Houston at the age of 94.

Former Missouri Governor and U.S. Senator Kit Bond (file photo)

Former U.S. Sen. Kit Bond describes his Republican colleague, President Bush, as a “special person.”

“We lost a true statesman, an outstanding president, a brave war hero and a great communicator,” Bond says.

Mr. Bush served eight years as President Ronald Reagan’s vice president from 1981 to 1989, before being elected president in 1988 and serving one term. Bond tells Missourinet he introduced Vice President Bush, when he spoke at Westminster College in mid-Missouri’s Fulton in 1986.

“It was a great opportunity to bring in a vice president of the United States and talk about his tremendous record,” says Bond. “Very few people have ever had the preparation for the office of presidency that he had.”

Bond notes Mr. Bush served as a Texas congressman, ambassador and CIA director, before becoming vice president and president.

Mr. Bush, who served as president from 1989 to 1993, made numerous trips to Missouri during that time. He rode in the Fourth of July parade in southwest Missouri’s Marshfield in 1991, and spoke at the Show-Me State Games in Columbia in 1992.

Vice President Mike Pence describes former President Bush as a great leader who made a “great difference in the life of this nation.” Senator Bond also emphasizes that Bush was a war hero.

“Shot down in the Pacific, he enlisted just as soon as he was old enough, youngest team leader,” Bond says.

Bond notes Mr. Bush landed in the Pacific Ocean during that World War II incident, before being rescued by a submarine.

Bond says he first met Bush in 1968 in Washington, when Bond unsuccessfully ran for a U.S. House seat in northeast Missouri. Congressman William Hungate, a Democrat, beat Bond that year with about 52 percent of the vote.

Kit Bond was elected governor in 1972 and served his first term from 1973 to January 1977. He lost a 1976 re-election bid to “Walking Joe” Teasdale, but defeated Teasdale in 1980.

Bond was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1986 and served four six-year terms until he retired in January 2011. He was in the Senate for the entire Bush presidency from 1989 to 1993.

The Washington Post reports Wednesday morning’s funeral is set for 11 at Washington National Cathedral, a request of the Bush family. The newspaper reports Bush will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington until Wednesday morning at 7.

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