Trump, ex-presidents attend Bush funeral
“A great and noble man, and the best father a son or daughter could have.”
“America’s last great soldier statesman, a 20th-century founding father.”
With those and other words of praise, George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States, who oversaw the end of the Cold War but who suffered defeat after one term, was given the pageantry of a state funeral on Wednesday.
The service at National Cathedral in Washington was attended by 3,000 people, including President Donald Trump, former presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter and their spouses. They were joined by Bush family members, former Bush colleagues, world leaders and ordinary people.
In a 12-minute tribute, George W. Bush, the 43rd US president, remembered his father as an imperfect, but beloved man who gave him wisdom as a president and a father.
“He was the best father a son or daughter could have,” said Bush. As he spoke those words, his eyes welled up and his body quaked. When he concluded, the congregation burst into sustained applause.
Writer Jon Meacham, who became close to Bush as his biographer, in his eulogy called him “America’s last great soldier-statesman, a 20th-century founding father’’.
Former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney, a friend of the former president who was asked to deliver a tribute, said, “I believe it will be said that no occupant of the Oval Office was more courageous, more principled or more honorable than George Herbert Walker Bush.”
In and outside the Capitol and along Pennsylvania Avenue, thousands of Americans gathered on Wednesday to bid farewell to the former president as his casket was transported by a motorcade from the Capitol to National Cathedral.
The former president, who served as head of the US Liaison Office in China between 1974 and 1975, was seen “an old friend of the Chinese people”, who promoted the historic development of US-China relations over the past four decades.
He died on Friday at the age of 94 at his home in Houston after years of struggling with Parkinson’s disease.
After the service, his coffin was taken to Joint Base Andrews outside of Washington. It was loaded aboard one of the blue-and-white presidential jets for a final flight home and burial on Thursday at his Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas, alongside his wife, Barbara, who died in April, and his daughter Robin, who died at the age of 3 from leukemia.
Trump closed the federal government on Wednesday to mark a day of mourning for Bush, and several US financial exchanges were closed.
Former US president George W. Bush becomes emotional as he speaks at the State Funeral for his father, former president George H.W. Bush, at National Cathedral in Washington on Wednesday.