President Obama welcomed President George H.W. Bush to the White House on Monday for an event that recognized the push for volunteerism that the 41st president spearheaded with his "thousand points of light" initiative more than two decades ago. 

"We are surely a kinder and gentler nation because of you," Obama told Bush, sparking a sustained round of applause from the packed room and tears from daughter Dorothy Bush Koch.

The first President Bush…