Thou­sands line the route of Ge­orge Bush’s fi­nal jour­ney

US: His for­mer sec­re­tary of state pays trib­ute to ‘a beau­ti­ful hu­man be­ing’

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - WORLD NEWS -

Thou­sands waved and cheered along the route as fu­neral train No 4141 – for the 41st pres­i­dent – car­ried Ge­orge HW Bush’s re­mains to their fi­nal rest­ing place in Texas.

It was the for­mer pres­i­dent’s last jour­ney as a week of na­tional re­mem­brance took on a de­cid­edly per­sonal feel in an emo­tional home state farewell.

Some peo­ple laid coins along the tracks that wound through small town Texas so a 420,000-pound lo­co­mo­tive pulling the na­tion’s first fu­neral train in nearly half a cen­tury could crunch them into sou­venirs.

“He main­tained the greater courage of a peace­maker”

Oth­ers snapped pic­tures or crowded for views so close that po­lice he­li­copters over­head had to warn them back. Stu­dents hoisted a ban­ner sim­ply read­ing “THANK YOU”.

The scenes rem­i­nis­cent of a by­gone era fol­lowed the more som­bre tone of a fu­neral ser­vice at a Hous­ton church, where Mr Bush’s for­mer sec­re­tary of state and con­fi­dant for decades, James Baker, ad­dressed him as “jefe”, Span­ish for “boss”.

At times chok­ing back tears, Mr Baker praised Mr Bush as “a beau­ti­ful hu­man be­ing” who had “the courage of a war­rior. But when the time came for pru­dence, he main­tained the greater courage of a peace­maker.”

Mr Baker also of­fered Mr Bush as a con­trast to to­day’s di­vi­sive, some­times vit­ri­olic pol­i­tics, say­ing that his “wish for a kinder, gen­tler na­tion was not a cyn­i­cal po­lit­i­cal slo­gan. It came hon­est and un­guarded from his soul”.

“The world be­came a bet­ter place be­cause Ge­orge Bush oc­cu­pied the White House for four years,” said Mr Baker.

As the post-fu­neral mo­tor­cade car­ry­ing Mr Bush’s re­mains later sped down a closed road from the church to the train sta­tion, con­struc­tion work­ers on an un­fin­ished build­ing paused to watch.

Mr Bush’s body was later loaded on to a spe­cial train fit­ted with clear sides so peo­ple could catch a glimpse of the cas­ket as it rum­bled by.

The train trav­elled about 70 miles – the first pres­i­den­tial fu­neral train jour­ney since Dwight D Eisen­hower’s re­mains went from Wash­ing­ton to his na­tive Kansas 49 years ago – to the fam­ily plot on the grounds of Mr Bush’s pres­i­den­tial li­brary at Texas A&M Univer­sity.

Mr Bush’s fi­nal rest­ing place is along­side his wife, Bar­bara, and Robin Bush, the daugh­ter they lost to leukaemia aged three.

In the town of Pine­hurst, 55-year-old Doug Allen left eight coins on the tracks be­fore the train passed – three quar­ters, three dimes and two pen­nies.

“It’s some­thing we’ll al­ways keep,” Mr Allen said.

POIGNANT: The flag-draped cas­ket of for­mer Pres­i­dent Ge­orge HW Bush passes through the city of Mag­no­lia, Texas, yesterday

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