Former president George H.W. Bush celebrated his 80th birthday Sunday with a parachute jump from 13,000 feet over his presidential library and said he felt the same thrill of prior jumps.
He made a tandem jump -- harnessed to Staff Sgt. Bryan Schnell of the Army's Golden Knights parachute team -- after officials decided the wind conditions and low clouds made it too dangerous for the 41st president to jump alone, which he did when he turned 75.
"This was a real thrill for me," said Bush, wearing a black and gold jumpsuit. "It's been a great day. This was a day of joy and a day of wonder for the Bush family, certainly for the old guy."
The crowd of 4,000 at his library at Texas A&M University included his wife, Barbara; their son Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; and former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev, whom the former president had invited to jump with him.
"Afraid," Gorbachev said through an interpreter, explaining why he did not accept the offer. "Maybe on his 90th birthday. . . . For me, it would be a first. At my age, that may kill me."
The jump, Bush's fifth, earned him parachutist's wings that were pinned on him after he landed. The wings include a small bronze star, indicating he had made a combat jump in a hostile area, which he did during World War II.
Bush said he hoped his stunt sent a message to people that "at 80 years old, you've still got a life."