Former President Bush Celebrates 90th Birthday with Skydive

Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush has marked his 90th birthday with a skydive in Kennebunkport, Maine, Thursday with a group of U.S. Army veterans.

Bush landed "softly" AP reported, away from the area where reporters stood to report on the event.

"He had a big smile for the crowd. You could tell he was exhilarated,'' Diana Untermeyer, a family friend told AP.

Back safely on the ground, the former president was greeted with a kiss from wife, Barbara and a hug from son George.

"It's a wonderful day in Maine -- in fact, nice enough for a parachute jump,"  the 41st U.S. president  said before jumping. He first jumped from an aircraft almost 70 years ago when he was shot down over the Pacific Ocean during World War II.

Former President George H.W. Bush during free fall with U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team member, Sgt. 1st Class Mike Elliott, College Station, Texas in November 2007. /AP Former President George H.W. Bush during free fall with U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team member, Sgt. 1st Class Mike Elliott, College Station, Texas in November 2007. /AP

Bush, the father of 43rd U.S. President George W. Bush, has been celebrating birthdays with occasional skydives for years and marked his 75th and 80th birthdays with jumps.

In 2009, when he jumped to mark his 85th birthday, his son then-President Bush said: "I think he's a nut to jump."

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AP.

VOA News / Jun. 13, 2014 08:19 KST