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Today in history: June 12
In 1987, President Reagan urged Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall
Gorbachev and Reagan in happier times, at the White House on December 8, 1987.
Gorbachev and Reagan in happier times, at the White House on December 8, 1987. White House Photos/Getty Images

June 12

On this day. 1924: George H.W. Bush was born. He was the 41st president, serving between 1989-93. Bush was the last president to serve in World War II. A Navy pilot, he flew 58 missions over the Pacific, and was shot down on September 2, 1944. Before being elected to the presidency, Bush was a Texas Congressman, ambassador to the United Nations, chairman of the Republican National Committee, head of the U.S. liaison office to China (not ambassador, since the U.S. did not have formal diplomatic ties with Beijing at the time), Director of the CIA, and Ronald Reagan's vice president. Bush's tenure as president was known for his leadership during the collapse of communism and the end of the Cold War, and for his decision to go to war against Iraq in January 1991, after Saddam Hussein invaded neighboring Kuwait five months before. A mild recession contributed to Bush's failed re-election bid in 1992. Bush was the second President whose son (George W. Bush) also became president. The other pair? John Adams and John Quincy Adams. President Obama awarded President Bush senior the Medal of Freedom in 2011.

On this day. 1971: A White House wedding. Tricia Nixon married Edward Finch Cox in the Rose Garden.

On this day. 1987: President Reagan, in front of the Berlin Wall, challenged Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down this wall!" Just 29 months after Reagan's challenge, the Berlin Wall did indeed fall, a symbolic end to the Cold War in Europe.

Quote of the day

"I'm conservative, but I'm not a nut about it." –George H.W. Bush


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