Former President George H.W. Bush was at the White House today, as he and President Obama awarded the 5,000th daily Thousand Points of Light Award for public service. Bush began awarding the distinction, based on a famous line from his 1988 nomination acceptance speech, 24 years ago:

Alongside President Obama, Mr. Bush commemorated this milestone award, an honor for volunteers who represent “a thousand points of light,” a phrase Mr. Bush first used in his 1988 speech accepting the Republican nomination for president and repeated in his 1989 inaugural speech.

“Volunteerism has gone from something that some people do some of the time to something that lots of people do as a regular part of their lives,” Mr. Obama said in the East Room.

The 5,000th award recipients, Floyd Hammer and Kathy Hamilton, created the nonprofit Outreach to deliver free meals to hungry children in the U.S. and 14 other countries. Mr. Obama thanked his predecessor who “illuminated the path for so many others” to volunteer.

“I’m not sure everybody fully appreciates how much this man has done to strengthen our nation of service,” Mr. Obama said of Mr. Bush. “On behalf of all of us, we are surely a kinder and gentler nation because of you and we can’t thank you enough.”

“A thousand points of light” has gotten a bit of a silly rap because of Dana Carvey’s popular H.W. impression, but I’ve always thought it was a beautiful phrase and sentiment.

41, of course, rocked the socks:

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