US ex-president Bush celebrates 85th with skydive

By AFP

June 18, 2010 Updated Jun 12, 2009 at 5:11 PM EDT

Former US president George H.W. Bush enjoyed his 85th birthday in style Friday with a 3,200 meter (10,500 foot) tandem parachute jump -- and pledged to do the same at age 90.

Bush, president from 1989 to 1993, made his first jump over half a century ago as a pilot during World War II, when his plane was crippled over the Pacific.

"It still feels good. You still get a charge out of it," he told CNN television after the almost three kilometer (two miles) high leap in Kennebunkport, Maine, near his summer home.

Watched over by wife Barbara, his son former president George W. -- who left office in January -- and another son, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, the 41st US leader made the jump harnessed to a member of the US Army parachute team.

He said he hoped his extreme birthday celebration could be inspire other senior citizens.

"You can go out and get something done," he told the network.

"Just because you're old, that doesn't mean you can't do fun stuff. And you don't want to sit around drooling in the corner," he added. "It's a wonderful release."

Bush famously made jumps on his 75th and 80th birthdays and, he pledged, he hopes to make another on his 90th.




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