Former President George H.W. Bush laid to rest in Texas
COLLEGE STATION, Texas, (Reuters) - Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush was laid to rest at his presidential library in College Station, Texas, yesterday, following funeral services at his longtime church in Houston.
Bush’s casket traveled in a special train car about an hour northwest from Houston to College Station and was then carried to the gravesite behind his library by a military honor guard, in a ceremony overseen by his son and former President George W. Bush.
Bush, the 41st U.S. president, died last week in Texas at 94. His remains were flown to Texas on Wednesday following a state funeral at the Washington National Cathedral attended by President Donald Trump, the four living former presidents and foreign leaders.
“The memorial was a beautiful tribute to President Bush’s extraordinary life and a noble legacy to public service,” Trump said at a Hanukkah reception at the White House on Thursday. “He was a wonderful man. We will always remember this great statesman and beloved American patriot. He really was very special.”
Thursday’s funeral service in Houston was held at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, where Bush and former first lady Barbara Bush worshipped for more than five decades, and took on a more personal tone with remarks by family members.
George W. Bush, who followed his father to the White House after President Bill Clinton’s two terms, sat in a front pew near the flagdraped casket and joined in as some 1,000 mourners sang “America the Beautiful.”
George P. Bush, son of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and one of the former president’s 17 grandchildren, remembered fly fishing and sharing ice cream with the man he called “Gampy.”
James Baker, a longtime friend who served as Bush’s secretary of state, eulogized the former Republican president as a peacemaker and “a truly beautiful human being.”
“He was not considered a skilled speaker, but his deeds were quite eloquent and he demonstrated their eloquence by carving them into the hard granite of history,” Baker said.
Mourners laughed as Baker recalled how Bush would let him know a conversation was over: “‘Baker, if you’re so smart, why am I president and you’re not?’” His voice cracking at moments, Baker said he was at his friend’s deathbed last week.
Raised in an Episcopalian family in Massachusetts, Bush fused his preppy New England background with the more free-wheeling traits of his adoptive state of Texas, where he moved as a young man to work in the oil industry.