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Bill Clinton honored 'dear friends' George H.W. and Barbara Bush on Presidents Day

Clinton remembered a friendship he's called "one of the great gifts of my life" on the first Presidents Day since the deaths of George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush.
/ Source: TODAY

Bill Clinton fondly paid tribute to his old friends on the first Presidents Day since the death of former president George H.W. Bush and first lady Barbara Bush.

The 42nd president tweeted out a throwback photo on Monday of him and former first lady Hillary Clinton with the Bushes, writing that he was "remembering my dear friends this #PresidentsDay."

The kind sentiment was returned by the Bushes' granddaughter, TODAY's Jenna Bush Hager.

The Democrat and Republican became a model of civility after forming a friendship despite Clinton defeating Bush in the 1992 presidential election.

Following a tradition of an outgoing president offering encouragement and advice to his successor, Bush penned a letter wishing "great happiness" to Clinton, writing that he was "rooting hard for you."

George H.W. Bush died at 94 in November, seven months after losing Barbara, his wife of 73 years, who died at 92 in April.

Clinton paid tribute to his fellow former president in a Washington Post op-ed following his death.

"No words of mine or others can better reveal the heart of who he was than those he wrote himself," Clinton wrote in reference to Bush's letter. “He was an honorable, gracious and decent man who believed in the United States, our Constitution, our institutions and our shared future.

Clinton called their friendship "one of the great gifts of my life."

The two became close when they worked together to help victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 and those devastated by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans a year later.

Clinton also admired Bush’s continuous optimism, love for adventure, and his bravery during his time serving as a pilot in the Navy in World War II.

"We should all give thanks for George H.W. Bush's long, good life and honor it by searching, as he always did, for the most American way forward," Clinton wrote.