TV host Rita Cosby had come to Chicago to talk about the 41st President as part of stories from her best-selling book. Instead, her Saturday talk turned into a tribute at the Copernicus Center in the city's Jefferson Park neighborhood.
"I landed in Chicago last night and when I saw the news I had tears in my eyes," said Cosby.
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Cosby covered the late president during her career as a journalist and later became a friend of the Bush family.
"He was a man who really understood friendship understood freedom and I think that it's um very fortuitous that today we are honoring him here," Cosby said.
Cosby said one of his greatest achievement was his role in the fall of communism in Eastern Europe.
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Bush had appeared at the Copernicus Center decades ago, but it was not his only visit to Chicago.
In 1991, Bush visited the Billy Goat Tavern, according to the Chicago Tribune.
ABC7 political analyst Laura Washington talked Saturday about Bush's last legacy in Chicago.
"His signing of the American Disabilities Act, which changed the lives of so many people. ... It shows that he had a heart and shows that he understood minority's and people who disadvantage even though even though he came from a more patrician, elite background," Washington said.
President Donald Trump would declare Dec. 5 a national day of mourning for Bush.
His funeral will be at National Cathedral in Washington D.C.
He will be buried at the Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas.