Last week, the Bush family and many others mourned the loss of Bush matriarch, Barbara Bush. The funeral service for the former First Lady was attended by 1,500 people, including many dignitaries.
One aspect of the funeral processions which caught everyone’s eye were the socks worn by the widowed Bush, former President George H.W. Bush. His socks were decorated with books to honor his wife’s legacy in promoting family literacy.
“To honor his wife of 73 years and her commitment to family literacy, for which she raised over $110 million over the course of over 30 years, George H.W. Bush will be wearing a pair of socks festooned with books at today’s funeral service for former first lady Barbara Bush,” Bush spokesperson Jim McGrath tweeted.
To honor his wife of 73 years and her commitment to family literacy, for which she raised over $110 million over the course of over 30 years, @GeorgeHWBush will be wearing a pair of socks festooned with books at today’s funeral service for former First Lady Barbara Bush.
— Jim McGrath (@jgm41) April 21, 2018
Per Fox News:
Bush spoke about the importance of literacy during her tenure as first lady and encouraged people to read. The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy has provided more than $110 million to create or expand family literacy programs in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, according to the foundation.
“I chose literacy because I honestly believe that if more people could read, write, and comprehend, we would be that much closer to solving so many of the problems that plague our nation and our society,” the former first lady said.
And, per CBS News:
The late former first lady dedicated many years of her life to promoting literacy, which she saw as a gateway to opportunities and a future. During her husband’s time as vice president and later as president, she honed in on literacy as her signature cause, particularly focusing on awareness for early childhood education and literacy for parents. That belief that every man, woman and child should be able to improve their lives through literacy led to the founding of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy in March of 1989. Her daughter Dorothy “Doro” Bush Koch, is the foundation’s honorary chair.
“The American dream is about equal opportunity for everyone who works hard. If we don’t give everyone the ability to simply read and write, then we aren’t giving everyone an equal chance to succeed,” the former first lady once said.
The socks worn by the former president were provided by John’s Crazy Socks, a company run by a 22-year-old man with Down syndrome, John Cronin.
Here’s more of his story, per his website:
It all comes down to socks and showing people what’s possible. John Cronin spreads happiness through his socks and his business, John’s Crazy Socks. Every day, he shows what someone with a disability can do. President Bush has longed championed the rights of people with disabilities. John’s desire to connect with people through socks led John and President Bush to form a bond over their love of crazy socks and their commitment to the possibilities in all of us.
John Cronin is a 22-year-old man with Down syndrome who has loved crazy socks his entire life. In the fall of 2016, he asked his Dad if they could open a business selling socks. His father Mark agreed and the two set to work. In December 2016, John’s Crazy Socks was born. John and Dad set out not only to sell socks, but to show what people with intellectual disabilities can do. And they built a business that Gives Back by raising money for charities like the Special Olympics and the National Down Syndrome Society.
Enter President Bush. Last year, John read a story about President Bill Clinton giving a pair of colorful socks to President Bush. That gave John an idea. “I said, I want to send President Bush some of my socks.” So, John sent a box of socks to President Bush’s office in Houston.
The former president loved the socks, ordered more, and sent the following letter:
Thank you so much for the generous gift. I am happy to see that you and I have the same taste in fun, colorful socks…We knew that people with disabilities like Down syndrome are capable of doing amazing things if they are given the opportunity. You are a wonderful example of what Americans can do despite the challenges that they face. We are proud of all that you have accomplished.
“I loved it,” John admitted. “I couldn’t believe that I got a letter from President Bush.”
The two men communicated again when Bush wore John’s socks on National Down Syndrome Awareness Day and again following the death of the former First Lady:
Then Mrs. Bush passed away. John wanted to do something for President Bush. “I knew he would be sad, so I sent him a card telling him I hoped he felt better and how great a woman Mrs. Bush was.”
Once again, President Bush’s office called, this time looking for socks that the President and his family could wear to honor Mrs. Bush. John sent a box of book-themed socks made by one of our favorite suppliers (ModSocks) that John thought would be perfect for his friend and the entire Bush family.
Cornin has since renamed the socks as a tribute to Mrs. Bush and to honor President Bush’s achievements for people facing disabilities. Now called the “Library Socks for Literacy,” all profits from each pair of these socks sold go to the Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation.