Kennebunkport, Maine - June 15, 2009 — Former President George H.W. Bush didn’t just celebrate his 85th birthday with a cake and a small family gathering on Friday. Instead, he leaped from a plane at 10,500 feet and parachuted safely to a spot near his home with the help of the U.S. Army’s Golden Knights.
Bush marked his 85th birthday the same way he did his 75th and 80th birthdays, and said he plans to do the same for his 90th birthday, MSNBC reported.
Bush made the tandem jump with Sgt. 1st Class Mike Elliott of the Golden Knights, who guided them to a gentle landing on the lawn of St. Ann's Church, according to a story by the Associated Press.
"It's a great, exhilarating feeling," Bush said after he was removed from his harness. "I don't feel a day over 84."
He told reporters that he jumped Friday to experience the exhilaration of free-falling and to show that seniors can remain active and do fun things.
"Just because you're an old guy, you don't have to sit around drooling in the corner," Bush said. "Get out and do something. Get out and enjoy life."
Bush's first parachute jump took place during World War II. Since then, he has made several jumps with the Golden Knights. His most recent jump was in 2007 during the 10th anniversary and rededication of the Bush Library in College Station, Texas.
Joining Bush on Friday was anchor Robin Meade from HLN, the cable network formerly known as Headline News. Meade also made a tandem jump with the Golden Knights.
Meade didn’t seem as excited about the jump, however. "I never would have volunteered in real life to do this," she said according to the New York Daily News. "But I knew there were cameras around me, so I couldn't freak out.”
Former President George H.W. Bush did a tandem jump with Sgt. 1st Class Mike Elliott of the Golden Knights to celebrate his 85th birthday on Friday. Photo from MSNBC video
Bush and anchor Robin Meade from HLN both made tandem jumps with the U.S. Army’s Golden Knights.
Photo credit: Freeman/CNN