Ge­orge W. Bush eu­lo­gizes his dad

bush saluted with praise, hu­mour, can­nons at cap­i­tal farewell

The Daily Press (Timmins) - - WORLD NEWS - Calvin Wood­Ward, lauriE kEllman and aShraf khalil

Wash­iNG­ToN — Ge­orge h.W. bush was cel­e­brated with high praise and lov­ing hu­mour Wed­nes­day as the na­tion bade farewell to the man who was amer­ica’s 41st pres­i­dent and the last to fight for the u.s. in wartime. Three for­mer pres­i­dents looked on at Wash­ing­ton Na­tional cathe­dral as a fourth — Ge­orge W. bush — eu­lo­gized his dad.

“To us,” the son said of the fa­ther, “his was the bright­est of a thou­sand points of light.”

after three days of fu­neral events in Wash­ing­ton, bush was headed home to Texas for more cer­e­mony and then his burial Thurs­day. after the cathe­dral ser­vice, the hearse and a long mo­tor­cade drove to the Na­tional mall to pass by the World War ii me­mo­rial, a nod to the late pres­i­dent’s ser­vice as a sec­ond World War Navy pi­lot, then ar­rived at Joint base an­drews.

can­non roared again, hail to the chief was played for bush for a fi­nal time in the cap­i­tal and the plane with his cas­ket and bush fam­ily mem­bers aboard took off for hous­ton. he died Fri­day at age 94.

Ge­orge W. bush broke down briefly at the end of his eu­logy while in­vok­ing the daugh­ter his par­ents lost when she was 3 and his mother, bar­bara, who died in april. he took com­fort in know­ing “dad is hug­ging robin and hold­ing mom’s hand again.”

For all the som­bre trib­utes to the late pres­i­dent’s pub­lic ser­vice and strength of char­ac­ter, laugh­ter filled the cathe­dral time after time. The late pres­i­dent’s eu­lo­gists — son in­cluded — noted bush’s ten­dency to tan­gle his words and show his goofy side.

he was “the last great-sol­dier states­man,” his­to­rian Jon meacham said in his eu­logy, “our shield” in dan­ger­ous times. but he also said that bush, cam­paign­ing in a crowd in a depart­ment store, once shook hands with a man­nequin. rather than flush­ing in em­bar­rass­ment, he sim­ply cracked, “Never know. Gotta ask.”

he re­counted how co­me­dian dana car­vey once said the key to do­ing an im­per­son­ation of bush was “mr. rogers try­ing to be John Wayne.”

Ge­orge W. bush said “the man couldn’t stom­ach veg­eta­bles, es­pe­cially broc­coli,” and called that a de­fect passed down to his chil­dren.

The con­gre­ga­tion at the cathe­dral, filled with for­eign lead­ers and diplo­mats, amer­i­cans of high of­fice and oth­ers touched by bush’s life, rose for the ar­rival of the cas­ket, ac­com­pa­nied by clergy of faiths from around the world. in their row to­gether, u.s. Pres­i­dent don­ald Trump and for­mer pres­i­dents barack obama, Jimmy carter and bill clin­ton stood with their spouses and all placed their hands over their hearts.

meacham also praised bush’s call to vol­un­teerism — his “1,000 points of light” — plac­ing it along­side abra­ham lin­coln’s call to hon­our “the bet­ter an­gels of our na­ture” in the amer­i­can rhetor­i­cal canon. meacham called those lines “com­pan­ion verses in amer­ica’s na­tional hymn.”

Trump had mocked “1,000 points of light” last sum­mer at a rally, say­ing “What the hell is that? has any­one ever fig­ured that one out? and it was put out by a repub­li­can, wasn’t it?”

alan­simp­son,for­mer­re­pub­li­can sen­a­tor from Wyoming, re­galed the con­gre­ga­tion with sto­ries from his years as bush’s friend in Wash­ing­ton. more se­ri­ously, he re­called that when he went through a rough patch in the po­lit­i­cal game, bush con­spic­u­ously stood by him against the ad­vice of aides. “you would have wanted him on your side,” he said.

simp­son said bush “loved a good joke — the richer the bet­ter. and he threw his head back and gave that great laugh, but he never, ever could re­mem­ber a punch­line. and i mean never.”

Ge­orge W. bush turned the hu­mour back on the acer­bic exse­n­a­tor, say­ing of the late pres­i­dent: “he placed great value on a good joke, so he chose simp­son to speak.”

bush will lie in re­pose at st. martin’s epis­co­pal church be­fore burial at his fam­ily plot on the pres­i­den­tial li­brary grounds at Texas a&m univer­sity in col­lege sta­tion. his fi­nal rest­ing place will be along­side bar­bara bush, his wife of 73 years, and robin bush, the daugh­ter they lost to leukemia in 1953.

on Wed­nes­day morn­ing, a mil­i­tary band played hail to the chief as bush’s cas­ket was car­ried down the steps of the u.s. capi­tol, where he had lain in state. Fam­ily mem­bers looked on as ser­vice­men fired off a can­non salute.

his hearse was then driven in a mo­tor­cade to the cathe­dral cer­e­mony, slow­ing in front of the White house. bush’s route was lined with peo­ple much of the way, bun­dled in win­ter hats and tak­ing pho­tos.

Wait­ing for his ar­rival in­side, Trump shook hands with obama and for­mer first lady michelle obama, who greeted him by say­ing “Good morn­ing.” Trump did not shake hands with bill and hil­lary clin­ton, who looked straight ahead.

bill clin­ton and mrs. obama smiled and chat­ted as mu­sic played. carter was seated silently next to hil­lary clin­ton in the cav­ernous cathe­dral. obama cracked up laugh­ing at some­one’s quip. Vice-Pres­i­dent mike Pence shook carter’s hand.

An­drEW harnik/THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FIlES

The flag-draped cas­ket of for­mer pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush is car­ried by a mil­i­tary hon­our guard dur­ing a State Fu­neral at the Na­tional Cathe­dral, on Wed­nes­day, in Wash­ing­ton.

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