US Space and Rocket Center remembers visit from George H.W. Bush

HUNTSVILLE, Ala - While the services for former President George H.W. Bush are taking place in our nation's capital Wednesday,  the loss is being felt across the country and especially in Huntsville. The 41st President came to the Rocket City once in 1987 and again in 1990.

In 1987, he visited the US Space and Rocket Center. Many celebrities and politicians have visited space camp, but his trip in 1987 was different and is still commemorated to this day.

Video from 1987 shows the then Vice President George in an MMU simulator.

"It was very exciting and I've been thinking a lot about it the last few days, about his visit here," Dr. Deborah Barnhart said.

The center's CEO Dr. Deborah Barnhart gave Mr. Bush the tour of the facility.

"He wanted to see everything. He wanted to go to mission control. He wanted to go out and see the children out on their spacewalks and he was especially interested in the underwater astronaut training tank that we have," Dr. Barnhart said.

Outside the Space and Rocket Center, there is an administrative entrance, but many people who work there refer to it as the 'Bush Room' and it has been called that since his very memorable visit.

"We call it that because we had just built this brand new space camp training center and the entrance area was the first time we had used this entrance for a VIP and it was Vice President Bush. So to this day, we call this the 'Bush Room'."

In 1990 he made another stop, this time he was serving as President. He spoke about the future of space exploration and he also campaigned for Governor Guy Hunt when he was up for reelection.

But the folks at the US Space and Rocket Center will always hold that 1987 visit close to their hearts.

"When he left he sent us this photograph that says 'Come fly with me,' and that pretty sums up his attitude," Barnhart said.

That picture still hangs in the 'Bush Room', a way to commemorate that visit and honor the man who served as America's 41st President.