Chattanooga remembers the late President George H.W. Bush

Former President George H.W. Bush greets fans at BellSouth Park in Chattanooga on April 1st, 2000. (Image: WTVC archives)

Across the county, people are mourning the loss and celebrating the legacy of President George H.W. Bush.

He leaves behind a history of public service whose reach touched all parts of the nation, including Chattanooga.

On April 1st, 2000 SouthBell Park hosted the inaugural game played at the field we now call AT&T field.

The city packed the stands, eager to see the the Baltimore Orioles take on the Cincinnati Reds in the season opener.

President George H.W. Bush threw the first pitch of the game. He attended along with his wife Barbara.

Lookouts Broadcast Director Larry Ward says he's announced many ball games, but this one remains in his memory.

Ward says the small specifics of the day don't stick out in his memory. Rather, the entire experience of the season opener - the first day playing in the new stadium and certainly an appearance from the late President Bush - ingrained this day in Chattanooga's history.

Ward says, "I think the fans were probably excited as anybody that day," adding, "It was just special for everybody. You honor that event as it comes as it happens and you take it all in with all the reverence you can take it in with."

Chattanooga native and former White House Communication director Tom Griscom recalls the late president as a man of character and integrity.

Tom sat down with NewsChannel 9's Taylor Stewart and shared memories of his 10-year working relationship with then Vice President Bush.

He says not all of their interactions were without conflict.

Recalling a time the Vice President called him into his office to share his discontent, Tom says, "I got the best blessing out of that I’ve had probably for the first time since when my mother got on me for doing something bad."

Tom says President H.W. Bush was a confident leader who was the same in public as in private.

Bush also visited Chattanooga in 1992 during a campaign stop, but ultimately the season opener of 2000 is the final local memory Chattanoogans have to cherish the late President H.W. Bush.

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