To the Editor:Re “George Bush, 1924-2018: A Genial Force in American Politics” (front page, Dec. 2): An American hero has left us, but we are a better nation because he walked among us with dignity for 94 years. The death of George H.W. Bush, affectionately called Bush 41, after months of declining health follows less than a year after the passing of his beloved life partner, Barbara.Bush 41 served this nation for almost his entire life, as a military hero, a director of the C.I.A., an ambassador, a vice president and finally as the 41st president of the United States. Mr. Bush was our president when the Berlin Wall came down, and when the Soviet Union dissolved. Under his leadership a coalition of nations was formed that led to the defeat of Saddam Hussein after he invaded Kuwait.Despite his many successes, Bush 41 was the last American president to serve only one term, as his breaking the pledge of “read my lips, no new taxes” angered Democrats and Republicans alike and led to his defeat at the hands of Bill Clinton in 1992.George Herbert Walker Bush was respected here at home and around the world. He saw America as that shining city on a hill that Ronald Reagan evoked, and was famous for his “thousand points of light” speech.Bush 41 was the true model of what an American president should be: compassionate, respectful, fair-minded, a uniting force and a true believer in democratic principles and the Constitution. In short, Bush 41 was everything the current occupant of the Oval Office is not.Henry A. LowensteinNew YorkTo the Editor: Somewhere between the vegetable ravioli appetizer and the lobster and fettuccine entree, I turned the teensiest bit Republican.My husband and I were dining at the White Barn Inn in Kennebunkport, Me., celebrating our 21st anniversary, when a group of people entered and I had a fleeting thought that the woman leading the pack looked remarkably like Barbara Bush, complete with signature triple-strand pearls. Following closely on her heels was a dignified gentleman, impeccably dressed, who was a dead ringer for Papa Bush. It took a few blinks of my eyes to realize that yes, indeed, we would be dining with the former president and first lady.As President Bush squeezed past our table to get to his, I couldn’t resist speaking up. “We’ll be on our best behavior,” I said with a grin. He didn’t miss a beat, leaning down and saying conspiratorially, “Just don’t say anything bad about ‘you know who.’” His son was president at the time. And while I was not W.’s biggest fan, I responded with: “Don’t worry. We love him.” Love him? We do?Political differences aside, the truth is I was thrilled to be dining in their presence. Listening in on their conversation didn’t seem like eavesdropping as much as showing interest in my new group of friends. Just as my conversations with family and friends are about the people we love, the places we’ve traveled and, increasingly, the condition of our various body parts, so, too, was theirs.My husband and I lingered over every course, doing our best to prolong the meal, but when we finally stood up to leave, Mr. Bush was quick to express his hope that his group had not disturbed our evening. My husband took this as an invitation to chat. When he told the former president that this was our first weekend away from our children in 10 years, Mr. Bush seemed genuinely interested. He asked where we were from, and how many children we had. I joked that my husband and I would forever speak of this as the night we dined with the Bushes. It also turned out to be the night that made me realize there can be wiggle room in one’s political point of view — especially when the opposing party proves so gracious. Rest in peace, my friend.Sharon H. JohnsonNewton, Mass.To the Editor:Saying goodbye to George H.W. Bush is so much more than a tribute to a great man and patriot. It is a testament to an era. When the world moved more slowly. And truth prevailed. When the First Amendment was not threatened. When a president was prepared for office, committed to country and universally respected. We not only say goodbye to a life well lived but also to a time when Americans knew that the person holding the highest office in the land unquestionably would preserve, protect and defend us and be a role model for our children.Susan BergerGlencoe, Ill.