Photojournalist recalls 12-year assignment covering George HW Bush

LOS ANGELES -- Photojournalist Roger Sandler recalled covering George H.W. Bush as part of a 12-year assignment for "Time" and "Life" magazines.

"We're in the limo, I'm gathering up my camera gear, he's late for a boat and he says, 'Take it easy. You've got a lot of gear there. Take your time, Roger. I'll wait 'til you get out,'" Sandler said.

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He was given extraordinary access during Bush's term as vice president and president. Sandler remembers a man with a great sense of humor.

"The phone rings in the back of the limo and I can hear the White House signal core operator say, 'Hold for the president,' and Bush hands me the phone. He says, 'It's for you.' I hear Reagan's voice, who I know well from covering him - 'George!' I was scared and handed it right back to him.

"He brought levity to serious situations, really wanted if you were in his company to feel relaxed and welcomed," Sandler said.

He will be among those attending Bush's funeral Wednesday in Washington, D.C. Sandler said he'll reflect on the time he spent with the president and Bush family.

Sandler mentioned an important lesson he learned covering Bush.

"A lesson, if you will, from me as a person - to try to live the most out of life, to enjoy life and to do your very best at what you're doing. I think that's the thread that's in the pictures of George Bush and the thread of his life and that of his family. I think it will carry on to the next couple of generations," he said.