On Tuesday, Barbara Bush passed away at age 92. In recognition of her death, historians and journalists shared a hand-written love letter that then-Navy pilot George H.W. Bush wrote to her on December 12, 1943, when Barbara was his fiancée. The letter from the future president quickly went viral on social media.
The pair met when the future president was training to be a naval aviator while attending a Christmas dance. He was 18, and she was 17.
In his autobiography, he admitted, “I’m not much at recalling what people wear, but that particular occasion stands out in my memory.”
He said that the band at the party was playing Glenn Miller tunes and he recalled asking a friend if he knew the girl in the green and red holiday dress, according to a report by Fox News.
His friend introduced him to the girl who would become his wife, Barbara Pierce. Then, the band played a waltz.
“Since I didn’t waltz, we sat the dance out,” Bush said. “And several more after that, talking and getting to know each other.”
“It was a storybook meeting.”
The letter is written in blue ink on US Navy stationary, and begins with a simple salutation: “My darling Bar.”
He then expresses how happy he is to have seen their engagement announcement in the newspaper.
“I love you, precious, with all of my heart and to know that you love me means my life,” the letter reads. “How often I have thought about the immeasurable joy that will be outs someday. How lucky our children will be to have a mother like you.”
“This may sound melodramatic,” another section of the letter read, “but if it does it is only my inadequacy to say what I mean. Bar, you have made my life full of everything I could ever dream of — my complete happiness should be a token of my love for you.”
The pair were married on January 6, 1945, just four months after he was shot down while flying over the Pacific.
In his book, he admits that she lost all of the love letters he wrote to her during the war, except this one, which was kept in an engagement scrapbook she created.
She passed away shortly after an announcement from her family that she was declining further medical treatment and had opted for “comfort care.”
In a statement, former President George W. Bush, her son, referred to his mother as “a fabulous First Lady and a woman unlike any other.”