George HW Bush has died and with him the ‘American century’

What Bush, the 41st US president, lived long enough to see is the end of the post-Second World War era, writes Gerard Howlin.

George H W Bush’s funeral in Washington DC today signifies a much more profound changing of the guard than the death of just one president. To understand the ultimate significance of his passing, go back to John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address, in 1961.

In words that will likely never be forgotten, he proclaimed: “Let the word go forth, from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans — born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage — and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today, at home and around the world.”

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