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For 20 minutes during an hour-and-a-half-long rally in Webb University Center at Old Dominion University, former President George Bush talked about his life, his military service and his family - and his eldest son. While his own political days may be over, Bush was on campus campaigning for Texas Gov. George W. Bush, who is seeking to follow in his father's footsteps as president. Bush served as president of the United States from 1988-1992.

Joining Bush on stage were Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, former Virginia Gov. George Allen, U.S. Sen. John Warner, and retired Navy Adm. Jack Cavanaugh.

"What we need is a value-based presidency," Bush told the crowd of more than 1,200. "We need to have a respect for the presidency, respect for service to this country... We need duty, honor and country."

What matters most to him these days are family, faith and friends, Bush said. He recalled with pride the day in November 1998 when both of his sons were elected as governors of the second and fourth largest states - Texas and Florida.

Bush talked about the need for service to country, which he first fulfilled as an 18-year-old who joined the Navy during World War II. Bush was stationed in Virginia Beach during the war.

"I salute those who serve in the military forces," he said. "The service changed my life, much the way it did for George W. when he joined the Army."

Bush described his son as a compassionate conservative who is strong enough to withstand the arrows that come with presidency.

The former president even talked about his 55th wedding anniversary and his parachute jump at the age of 75. "My wife said that she hadn't seen a free-fall like that since the elections in 1992," he joked.

Bush's visit was made possible because of Old Dominion Board of Visitors member Ron Villanueva's involvement with Virginia's George W. Bush for President campaign.

"The State Republican Committee was looking for a venue in Virginia and Ron knew they wanted to come to Hampton Roads," explained John R. Broderick, vice president for institutional advancement at Old Dominion. "This gave Old Dominion University the opportunity to host the rally."

This article was posted on: January 28, 2000

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