Presidents farewell Bush snr
George H. W. Bush, the former United States President, was remembered as a “noble” man of “great humility” yesterday at a state funeral attended by much of America’s political establishment.
Emotional eulogies from his son and friends remembered the 41st President as a “class act” who dedicated his life to public service and embodied courage, both political and personal.
In a service dominated by messages of unity and patriotism, speakers praised Bush’s opposition to “unthinking partisanship” and awareness that “hatred corrodes”.
Jon Meacham, a presidential historian, summed up Bush’s approach to life as “tell the truth, don’t blame people, be strong, do your best, try hard, forgive, stay the course”.
The messages were interpreted as a call for civility in politics at a time when the country is bitterly divided along party lines.
Donald Trump, the current US President, joined three of his predecessors — Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter — and their wives on the front row of Washington’s National Cathedral to commemorate Bush’s life.
Bush’s eldest son, former President George W. Bush, reflected on what his father, who died aged 94 on Friday, had taught him about holding America’s top political office.
“He showed me what it means to be a president who serves with integrity, leads with courage and acts with love in his heart for the citizens of our country,” Bush said.
“When the history books are written, they will say that George H W Bush was a great president of the United States, a diplomat of unmatched skill, a commander-in-chief of formidable accomplishment, and a gentleman who executed the duties of his office with dignity and honour.”
At one point, he choked back tears as he praised “the best father a son or daughter can have”, adding that the elder Mr Bush now would be reunited with his wife, Barbara, and the daughter, Robin, who they lost aged just three. A second funeral was to be held for Bush in Texas before burial alongside his wife Barbara and Robin at a family plot.
The service brought together presidents and first ladies (from left) Donald and Melania Trump, Barack and Michelle Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter.
George W. Bush, with his wife Laura, said his father showed him how to be a good president.