On his 18th birthday, George Herbert Walker Bush put off his impending college education.  He enlisted in the United States Navy, becoming the youngest aviator in the Navy. — It was six months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

In the following years, he flew dozens of combat missions all across the Pacific Ocean. After one such mission in 1944, his plane’s engine was set ablaze by enemy fire, forcing him to bail out over the ocean.  After being rescued several hours later by a U.S.submarine, Bush reportedly wondered, “why had I been spared and what did God have in store for me?”

As it turns out, God had a lot in store for George Herbert Walker Bush. He became successful in the oil business in Odessa, Texas, a U.S. congressman, the 10th ambassador to the United Nations, the chairman of the Republican National Committee and also ambassador to China, the director of the CIA.

He served eight years as Ronald Reagan’s loyal vice president, which was one of the most successful presidencies in history. And, of course, he was elected the 41st president of the United States.

George H.W. Bush had one of the most notable resumes in the history of the U.S., but his personal life was even more impressive. Along with his beloved wife Barbara of 70-plus years, he was a parent to six children including former president, a former governor. He was a grandfather to seventeen and a great-grandfather to eight.

Through it all, he never forgot the brave men who and women in this country that protect us every single day, make everything possible, including in 2004 when he sat down for an interview with yours truly. Here’s what he told me:

“You know it touches me,Sean, I admit living in somewhat of a cocoon as a former president. But I go out of my way to say hi to these policemen and firemen there. And I’ll tell you, the ones that I talk to – ‘we’re for your son,’ our great word for you, one of them lift up the back of his lapel like that it big George W. button.

HANNITY:  These are the same guys, they watch FOX News every night.

BUSH:  Well, I’m sure they do.  I’m sure. But, you know, this is — these people are not elitist, country club people. They’re saving our lives with their service.

HANNITY:  Heroes.

BUSH:  And when they say, “we’re for the president,” I’ll tell you, I get very emotional at that.

Obviously, in both his personal, professional life, President Bush was always a good, decent, honorable person, serving his country.  During his four years in the Oval Office, eight years as vice president, he had to deal with some of the most challenging issues in modern American history.

He saw the collapse of the Soviet Union after a successful strategy with President Reagan called peace through strength. He ushered in the reunification of Germany. He conducted the first Gulf War in response to Saddam Hussein’s hostile actions an attempted takeover of Kuwait.

And along with his predecessor, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush transformed the country, at that time creating 21 million new jobs. It was at the time the longest period of peacetime economic growth in American history. They took the country — get this – from double-digit unemployment, double-digit interest rates, inflation to amazing lows.

The very same thing, by the way, that President Trump is now doing after the disaster of the Obama economy. They inherited the economy of Jimmy Carter.

But, of course, the Bush presidency did not go without some controversy.  They all have controversy.

Some criticized him for not taking out Saddam Hussein after he decimated the Iraqi army in Kuwait in a very short period of time.

He was also attacked on the issue of his no new tax pledge. You might remember, it was the infamous “read my lips, no new tax” moment. And, like Ronald Reagan, Bush encountered a media that was actively rooting against him, and it’s only gotten worse since then.

During his reelection bid, The New York Times reported that fake story about President Bush’s so-called amazement at supermarket scanning technology.

They tried to paint him as out of touch. And, although widely refuted, The New York Times included this fake story in its obituary of the president.

Meanwhile, the so-called journalists at the A.P., they couldn’t hide their contempt, for now, the former president even passing away, tweeting, “George H.W. Bush, a patrician New Englander, his presidency soared with the coalition victory over Iraq and Kuwait but then plummeted in the throes of a weak economy that led voters to turn him out of office after a single term, has died. He was 94.”

That tweet has since been deleted.  But, of course, this is all part of a pattern, isn’t it?

The mainstream media viciously attacking any prominent Republicans, all while providing cover to all of their friends in the Democratic Party.

Reagan was portrayed as a heartless monster during the eight years he was president.

George Bush was literally bashed for his speaking style among other things.

John McCain was excoriated throughout the 2008 campaign as racist and worse.

Mitt Romney called a sexist and misogynist because he wanted to hire women.

Apparently, these attacks are just obviously completely disingenuous when you have that. Then people die and all of a sudden, the press likes them.  — Like we saw with Senator McCain. Most of the mainstream media, oh, they’ll do a 180 seemingly forgetting about their nasty coverage. It’s a pattern to destroy people’s names and character when they’re alive and then create a veneer of bipartisanship and then will say nice things about somebody when the person dies.

It’s so transparently phony. And an example of let’s praise former President Bush, who the media was never nice to, maybe you can use that to bludgeon Trump.  And when the dust of partisanship settles, history will look back on 41 as an American hero.

And when his country called George H.W. Bush, he answered that call.  He answered the call in the Pacific at the ripe old age of 18, like so many in his generation including my own father.

He answered the call of our nation’s bureaucracy as he entered that.  He answered the call as the 41st president of this country.  He did it as a father, as a husband and now answers once again to his beloved Barbara Bush in heaven after they both had an amazing 73-year marriage.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Bush family.

Adapted from Sean Hannity’s monologue on “Hannity” on December 3, 2018.