N.B. politician remembers Bush as 'real human being' who helped him find son
Published Wednesday, December 5, 2018 12:31PM AST
Last Updated Wednesday, December 5, 2018 12:32PM AST
As the world pauses to remember George H.W. Bush, one New Brunswick politician has a special reason to honour the former president of the United States.
The Gulf War ended on Feb, 28, 1991, but Greg Thompson still hadn’t heard from his son, who was fighting as a member of the United States Army during the conflict overseas.
While waiting to hear word about his son, Greg Thompson Jr., the then-Progressive Conservative MP shared his concerns with President George H.W. Bush during a visit to Ottawa.
“He wanted to talk about my son and I explained that we were a little bit nervous and pensive, if you will, as to whether or not he’s OK, and the president said ‘You give me the detail on your son and I’ll find out for you’,” recalls Thompson.
“The fact is that when the president of the United States wants to know something about an individual soldier, there’s no stone left unturned.”
Greg Thompson Jr. was in Saudi Arabia when he received a phone call in the middle of the night from a major who identified himself as a staff member from the president’s office.
“Part of me was like, maybe this is some sort of joke somebody’s playing on me,” says the Gulf War veteran.
But it was no joke; the president of the United States was trying to track him down.
“I mean, I was a private first class at the time in the U.S. Army, which is a huge army, and the president wants to find out how I am.”
After the phone call, Thompson received a letter telling him that his son was alive and well, along with a handwritten note from the president himself.
“Dear Greg -- You must be very proud of this guy. We sure are,” read the note from the president, which was signed and dated March 14, 1991.
Thompson says the event is a testament to the kind of person Bush was.
“With his passing, it just kind of emphasizes how great a person he was,” says Thompson. “A real human being that understood others, especially those families that made the sacrifice to serve their country and so on.”
Wednesday is a national day of mourning in the United States as the former president is laid to rest. Bush died Friday at the age of 94.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Laura Lyall