Five years ago, the former President vowed to make the plunge if he reached 90, and today he did just that while attached to Sgt. 1st Class Mike Elliott, a retired member of the Golden Knights, the Army’s parachute team. Elliott was the same man who guided Bush to safety five years ago.
Lets do it again
“That’s what he wanted for his 90th birthday and that’s what he got,” Elliott said. “It’s a very good feeling to be involved and be able to turn back time. He’s probably feeling younger now than ever.”The former President was picked up outside his house in Maine at Walker’s Point by helicopter after he was transported by wheelchair to the copter by his family who sent him off with a rousing version of “Happy Birthday.”
Today’s landing didn’t go as smoothly as it did five years ago as Bush’s foot go tangled up underneath him during the landing forcing the two to the ground. Reports from family members who waited for his landing near St. Ann’s Church said the former president felt “fine.”
“He had a big smile for the crowd. You could tell he was exhilarated,” said Diana Untermeyer, a family friend from Houston. “He’s an amazing man. This is just another sign of that. I think that like most of America, our family loves him to pieces. It was just a real thrill to do this again.”
In addition to lesser known family members and friends, the former President was greeted with a kiss by his wife Barbara and a hug from his son George who put down his paint brushes to attend.
Former President Bush’s jump: The eighth time’s the charm
“He has a lot of courage. We need more like him,” said David Morris, 79, of Melrose, Massachusetts.
“I think it’s wonderful. I hope I can jump out of a plane at 90,” said Carol Schierl, 75, of Green Bay, Wisconsin,
“It’s vintage George Bush,” said family spokesman Jim McGrath. “It’s that passion for life. It’s wanting to set a goal, wanting to achieve it. I’m sure part of it is sending a message to others that even in your retirement years you can still find challenges.”
Bush is no stranger to jumping from perfectly good airplanes or for that matter planes plummeting to earth. His first jump occurred after he was shot down over the Pacific in World War II. Today was his 8th jump in total after making his 75th, 80th and 85th birthdays with a parachute.
While a very active President, a form of Parkinson’s Disease has taken the use of his legs in recent years. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990.