George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States, who died Friday at the age of 94, made numerous visits to the Miami Valley while serving the country as Vice President and President.
Here are highlights from some of his many visits.
Days after Bush accepted the Republican presidential nomination, he headed to the Miami Valley. Bush and running mate Sen. Dan Quayle and their wives Barbara Bush and Marilyn Quayle attended a rally Aug. 20, 1988 in West Carrollton.
The visit coincided with the West Carrolton Paper Festival. The owner of the Pirates Whip on Central Avenue offered a special deal on “Bush Burgers.” Two Bush burgers, fries and a soft drink could be had for $1.75.
Bush, Quayle, their families and entourage stayed at Dayton’s Stouffer Center Plaza Hotel. They occupied more than 100 of the 297 rooms.
Bush and his wife, along with another couple, ate dinner at the Pine Club that evening. The manager insisted they not receive special treatment, so the Secret Service was sent in to wait for a table. Bush took the bill, which came to $93, and gave the waitress a “generous 15 percent tip.”
June 12, 1988 - Central State University
Bush received an honorary degree from Central State University. It came on June 12, 1988, during commencement exercises. The event coincided with his 64th birthday.
Before the event Bush took a tour of the National Afro-American Museum with Dayton artist Willis “Bing” Davis. The artist was then head of the CSU art department and presented the Vice President with paintings.
» WHEN ELSE HAVE PRESIDENTS VISITED DAYTON? It dates back to 1840, when Presidential candidate William Henry Harrison held a downtown rally attended by 100,000
In October 1988, Bush came to Troy. He stopped at the Hobart Arena and met a crowd estimated at 8,000 with another 20,000 spectators lining the motor route to the city. He used the event to pledge a complete and total ban on chemical weapons.
The arena was the home of the Miami Valley Sabres, a semi-professional hockey team. “Politics is not unlike hockey,” he told the crowd. “It is grueling, rough and tough.”
In 1992, President Bush attended the 42nd annual Brookville Community Picnic July 24, 1992. The president “downed a roast-pork sandwich, shook hundreds of hands and tossed two perfect ringers in a game of horseshoes on July 24, 1992.
The reigning ‘Little Miss Brookville’ was chosen to welcome the president to Brookville. The Secret Service had 9-year-old Nikki Rowe waiting in place for hours near a baseball diamond where Bush was scheduled to participate in a softball game. An overnight rain made the field unplayable, and Bush never made it to the girl. She took the missed opportunity in stride. “I forgive him because he’s the president,” she said.
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