On this day of remembrance for former President George H.W. Bush, we recognize a great leader who championed equal rights for people with disabilities and older Americans. Upon signing the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law three weeks after Independence Day, President Bush expressed the collective meaning of independence by saying, “Three weeks ago we celebrated our nation’s Independence Day. Today we’re here to rejoice in and celebrate another “independence day,” one that is long overdue. With today’s signing of the landmark Americans for Disabilities Act, every man, woman, and child with a disability can now pass through once-closed doors into a bright new era of equality, independence, and freedom.”
The ADA put in place laws and regulations to ensure that people with disabilities and older individuals enjoy equal access in all areas of public life. This includes equal access to jobs, schools, transportation and all places that are open to the general public. President Bush upheld the civil liberties of people with disabilities and older individuals to be active members of the community, pursue hopes and dreams, and live the life they want. For this, we are thankful and honor President George H.W. Bush as a national hero.