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