WASHINGTON — Asian Pacific American members of Congress were among those eulogizing former President George H.W. Bush, who died on Nov. 30 at the age of 94.
In 1990, Bush issued Presidential Proclamation 6130, designating May 1990 as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Previously, Presidents Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter and Bush had designated a week in May as Asian Pacific American Heritage Week.
Public Law 102-42 was passed unanimously by Congress and signed by Bush in 1991, proclaiming May 1991 and May 1992 as Asian Pacific American Heritage Months. In 1992, Congress passed Public Law 102-450, which permanently designated May of each year as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.
Under the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, signed by Reagan, Japanese Americans who had been incarcerated during World War II began receiving $20,000 redress payments, along with a formal letter of apology signed by Bush, in 1990. The letter reads:
“A monetary sum and words alone cannot restore lost years or erase painful memories; neither can they fully convey our nation’s resolve to rectify injustice and to uphold the rights of individuals. We can never fully right the wrongs of the past. But we can take a clear stand for justice and recognize that serious injustices were done to Japanese Americans during World War II.
“In enacting a law calling for restitution and offering a sincere apology, your fellow Americans have, in a very real sense, renewed their traditional commitment to the ideals of freedom, equality, and justice. You and your family have our best wishes for the future.”
Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii): “George H.W. Bush dedicated his life to serving our country and the American people. My thoughts and aloha are with the entire Bush family today.”
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.): “Sending my condolences and prayers to the family and friends of President George H.W. Bush and to the American people who are mourning his passing. May his devotion to public service and his commitment to his family be an inspiration to us all.”
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.): “Rest in peace, President George H.W. Bush. While I did not always agree with him, his lifelong commitment to public service will continue to inspire generations to come. May that legacy bring comfort to his family at this difficult time.”
Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside): “I join the nation in mourning the passing of President George H.W. Bush. As a Navy pilot in WWII, a public servant, and a statesman, he served our country with integrity. His principled leadership brought our world closer to peace — may his legacy inspire others to do the same.”
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Manhattan Beach): “My prayers are with the family and friends of President George H.W. Bush. He was an honorable public servant and history will remember him well. May he rest in peace.”
Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento): “President George H.W. Bush was an American hero, statesman, and a true public servant who exemplified the Greatest Generation. He and his late wife Barbara will be remembered for their integrity and dedication to our nation. My thoughts are with the Bush family during this time.”
Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii): “[Husband] John [Souza] and me would like to share our deepest condolences with the family and friends of President George H.W. Bush. John worked with their security detail when he was at HPD and always lauded President Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush as true class acts.”
Rep. Ami Bera (D-Sacramento): “I am deeply saddened to hear about the passing of former President George H.W. Bush. He served our country with distinction and grace. My thoughts are with the entire Bush family today.”
Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Santa Clara): “George Herbert Walker Bush served our nation honorably in World War II and throughout his life in many positions of public service. Today, we honor his life. My heart and prayers are with the Bush family.”
Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.): “President Bush’s capacity for grace, even toward those with whom he’d faced off, and hoped he would again, should not be lost to history or to our continuing hopes for our leaders.”
Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.): “George H.W. Bush was a patriot who served our nation in so many ways and always did so with honor and integrity. He was also a devoted family man. Sad about his passing. The legacy of his service will never be forgotten. My thoughts and prayers are with the entire Bush family.
Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.): “President George H.W. Bush was a good and decent man who loved his country and dedicated his life to public service. My thoughts and prayers are with the entire Bush family.”
Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.): “George H.W. Bush was the epitome of a statesman—WW2 pilot, ambassador, CIA director, VP, and the 41st president. He was beloved by his family, exuded grace and integrity, and will be deeply missed by the nation he served so well. RIP, Mr. President.”