Crew Aboard ‘USS George HW Bush’ Hold Flashlight Vigil To Honor Vessel’s Namesake

A sailor aboard the USS George HW Bush salutes the U.S. flag as another lowers it to half mast to honor the vessel's namesake after his death on December 1, 2018.
Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Zachary P. Wickline / U.S. Navy via Getty Images

The dark night sky was brightened last night as the crew aboard the USS George HW Bush gathered together to honor the aircraft vessel’s namesake in a beautiful way, TIME reported.

Grouping on the flight deck, crew members held a stunning flashlight vigil for the former commander-in-chief by standing in a formation that formed the letters of Bush’s initials and the number 41 to mark his spot in the presidential lineup. The late president’s initials shone brightly during the incredible moment when crew members held their flashlights high in the sky in a breathtaking salute to George H.W. Bush’s support of volunteerism.

“The crew aboard the aircraft carrier USS George HW Bush (CVN 77) honored President Bush’s vision of volunteers as points of light in their community by holding a flashlight vigil,” a post on the ship’s Facebook page read. “Together, with communities across America, we raised our lights to brighten the night sky with ‘a thousand points of light.'”

The ex-POTUS, who passed away last week on November 30 at the age of 94, coined the phrase “thousand points of light” during his presidential nomination acceptance speech in 1988, TIME reported. Speaking about volunteer organizations, he said, “a brilliant diversity spreads like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky.”

During his memorial service on Wednesday, former President George W. Bush called his father “the brightest of a thousand points of light” during his eulogy.

In 1990, the elder Bush created the Daily Point of Light Award to recognize extraordinary individuals making a difference, and founded the Points of Light foundation shortly after, which, according to the Points of Light website, is the largest nonprofit, non-partisan organization dedicated to promoting volunteerism.

President Bush joined the Navy after turning 18 in 1942 and served as a naval pilot during World War II when he was based on the USS San Jacinto aircraft carrier. In 1944, his aircraft was shot down when it became the target of a Japanese attack, but he famously bailed out and survived, though two of his crew members sadly did not have the same fate.

According to its website, the USS George HW Bush was commissioned in 2009. Its seal features rays of light as another tribute to its namesake as a representation of the president’s “thousand points of light” concept.

“He urged us to find meaning and reward by serving a purpose higher than ourselves, to imbue the timeless ideas of ‘duty, sacrifice, commitment, and a patriotism that finds its expression in taking part and pitching in,'” the ship’s website reads. “The crew of CVN 77 stands ready every day and takes pride in pitching in.”