Texas bids Bush farewell with country music and a funeral train
GEORGE H W Bush, who shaped history as America’s 41st president and patriarch of a family that occupied the White House for a dozen years, went to his final rest on Thursday in Texas.
More than 11 000 people paid their respects as his casket lay in repose all night at a Houston church where his family worshipped. Some visitors waited for hours to pay tribute to Bush, at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church.
The service began with America the Beautiful and a robust rendition of The Star-spangled Banner.
The hymns were chosen and loved by the former president, said the church’s priest, Rev Russell J Levenson Jr. Some of Bush’s favourite country music stars paid tribute, including the Oak Ridge Boys doing Amazing Grace and Reba Mcentire offering The Lord’s Prayer, as three days of official ceremonies in Washington gave way to more personal touches for the former president in Texas.
The nation’s capital bid him goodbye on Wednesday in a funeral service that offered high praise for the last of the presidents to have fought in World War II – and a hefty dose of humour about a man whose speech delivery was once described as a cross between Mister Rogers and John Wayne.
In the service at Washington National Cathedral, three former presidents and President Donald Trump looked on as George W Bush eulogised his father. Trump sat with his wife, a trio of ex-presidents and their wives, several of them sharp critics of his presidency.
George W Bush broke down briefly at the end of his eulogy while invoking the daughter his parents lost in 1953 and his mother, who died in April.
He said he took comfort in knowing “Dad is hugging Robin and holding Mom’s hand again”. |