Bush mourned in fam­ily ser­vice

The ser­vice be­gan at St. Martin’s Epis­co­pal Church, where the for­mer pres­i­dent wor­shipped for many years, with more than 1,000 at­ten­dees singing ‘Amer­ica the Beau­ti­ful’

The Gulf Today - - AMERICAS -

For­mer US Pres­i­dent Ge­orge HW Bush’s fam­ily took cen­tre stage at his fu­neral at a Hous­ton church on Thurs­day, with his grand­sons as hon­orary pall­bear­ers and his grand­daugh­ters read­ing Psalms.

Bush, the 41st US pres­i­dent, died last week in Texas at age 94. His re­mains were lown to Texas on Wed­nes­day evening af­ter the state fu­neral at Wash­ing­ton’s Na­tional Cathe­dral at­tended by US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, the four liv­ing for­mer US pres­i­dents and for­eign lead­ers.

The ser­vice be­gan at St. Martin’s Epis­co­pal Church, where Bush wor­shipped for many years, with more than 1,000 at­ten­dees singing “Amer­ica the Beau­ti­ful.”

Coun­try mu­sic star Reba Mcen­tire was due to be among the mu­si­cal per­form­ers at the ser­vice.

Fol­low­ing the fu­neral at St. Martin’s, where Bush and his late wife, Bar­bara Bush, were long-time wor­ship­pers, a train was to carry his re­mains about 130km north­west to Col­lege Sta­tion, Texas, where he was to be laid to rest at his pres­i­den­tial li­brary.

The train is a Union Pa­cific Corp lo­co­mo­tive, num­bered 4141 and bear­ing the name “Ge­orge Bush 41” on the side that has been in ser­vice since 2005.

Bush, who nar­rowly es­caped death as a naval avi­a­tor who was shot down by Ja­panese forces over the Pa­cific Ocean in World War Two, was to be buried with mil­i­tary hon­ours, in­clud­ing a ly­over by 21 air­craft from the US Navy.

Bush was pres­i­dent from 1989 to 1993, nav­i­gat­ing the col­lapse of the Soviet Union and ex­pelling for­mer Iraqi pres­i­dent Sad­dam Hus­sein’s forces from Kuwait.

He sup­ported the pas­sage of the Amer­i­can with Dis­abil­i­ties Act, a ma­jor civil rights law pro­tect­ing dis­abled peo­ple from dis­crim­i­na­tion.

A pa­tri­cian ig­ure, Bush was voted out of ofice in part for fail­ing to con­nect with or­di­nary Amer­i­cans dur­ing an eco­nomic re­ces­sion.

He has also been crit­i­cised for sup­port­ing tough drug laws that led to the dis­pro­por­tion­ate in­car­cer­a­tion of black peo­ple, as well as what ac­tivists call an in­su­fi­cient re­sponse to the AIDS epi­demic when he was in power dur­ing some of its dead­li­est years.

But many trib­utes in re­cent days have fo­cused on the for­mer Repub­li­can pres­i­dent as a man of in­tegrity and kind­ness who rep­re­sented an ear­lier era of ci­vil­ity in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics.

That im­age has been bur­nished in re­cent years by the di­vi­sive­ness and anger in the United States that ac­com­pa­nied the rise of Trump.

Flags lew at half staff across Kosovo on Wed­nes­day in hon­our of Ge­orge HW Bush, who is seen as a ig­ure of na­tional im­por­tance in their coun­try for hav­ing writ­ten a let­ter threat­en­ing Ser­bia if it at­tacked.

To Al­ba­ni­ans who make up ma­jor­ity in Kosovo, he is best known for his 1992 let­ter to then Pres­i­dent of Ser­bia Slo­bo­dan Milo­se­vic in which he warned him not to start a conlict in Kosovo, then still part of Ser­bia af­ter Yu­goslavia broke up.

“The United States will be pre­pared to em­ploy mil­i­tary force against the Ser­bians in Kosovo and in Ser­bia proper,” Bush wrote to Milo­se­vic.

Un­der Bush’s suc­ces­sor Bill Clin­ton, the United States led Nato bomb­ing of Ser­bian forces in 1999 to halt killing and ex­pul­sions of Al­ba­ni­ans dur­ing a counter-in­sur­gency. Af­ter Ser­bian troops pulled out, Kosovo de­clared in­de­pen­dence in 2008.

As­so­ci­ated Press

Elizabeth Dwen An­drews reads scrip­ture dur­ing a fu­neral ser­vice for Ge­orge HW Bush at St. Martin’s Epis­co­pal Church in Hous­ton on Thurs­day. HOUS­TON:

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