Funer­als over, train takes Bush cas­ket to rest­ing place

The State - - Front Page - BY MANNY FER­NAN­DEZ

In the same church where his wife of 73 years was eu­lo­gized just seven months ago, for­mer Pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush was re­mem­bered Thurs­day morn­ing for his hu­mil­ity, de­cency and de­vo­tion to his fam­ily and his coun­try.

Nearly 1,000 rel­a­tives, friends and dig­ni­taries from the worlds of pol­i­tics, sports, busi­ness and en­ter­tain­ment filled St. Mar­tin’s Epis­co­pal Church, as they had in April for the fu­neral for Bar­bara Bush, who was 92 when she died. The fu­neral Thurs­day for Ge­orge Bush, who died last week at the age of 94, was one of the fi­nal events in what has be­come an ex­tra­or­di­nary mo­ment of na­tional mourn­ing for the 41st pres­i­dent.

Eight of his grand­sons led the mil­i­tary pall­bear­ers who car­ried Bush’s cof­fin into the church, and later his el­dest grand­son – Ge­orge P. Bush, the Texas land com­mis­sioner – spoke in a touch­ing eu­logy of his grand­fa­ther’s horse­shoe games with the fam­ily and the Se­cret Ser­vice, and of how it had been “the honor of a life­time to share his name.”

Bush’s friends and rel­a­tives de­scribed a man who walked softly through the post­war pages of Amer­i­can his­tory, who was de­fined by ser­vice to oth­ers and who, one cold day in Hous­ton, gave a young coat­less usher at St. Mar­tin’s the coat off his back.

“His wish for a kinder, gen­tler na­tion was not a cyn­i­cal po­lit­i­cal slo­gan: It came hon­est and un­guarded from his soul,” James Baker, Bush’s long­time friend of more than 60 years, said in a eu­logy.

Baker – who also served as sec­re­tary of state and White House chief of staff in the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion and ran both of his pres­i­den­tial cam­paigns – fought back tears at the end of his re­marks, as he called Bush his role model and de­scribed their spir­ited de­bates, which usu­ally ended am­i­ca­bly and hu­mor­ously.

“But he had a very ef­fec­tive way of let­ting me know when the dis­cus­sion was over,” Baker said. “He would look at me and he would say, ‘Baker, if you’re so smart, why am I the pres­i­dent and you’re not?’”

Af­ter the fu­neral, Bush’s cof­fin trav­eled by train to Col­lege Sta­tion, Texas, where the for­mer pres­i­dent was to be buried on the grounds of the Ge­orge H.W. Bush Pres­i­den­tial Li­brary and

with full mil­i­tary hon­ors at Grace­land Ceme­tery West — 77 years to the day af­ter he died.

“I re­mem­ber the pic­ture my grand­mother had of Carl on her ta­ble there in the liv­ing room,” re­called Howard, who was born nine years af­ter his un­cle died. “She raised me from the time I was a baby un­til school age be­cause my mother worked.”

In a time long be­fore cell­phones, the In­ter­net and 24-hour ca­ble news, Howard said that even af­ter his grand­par­ents learned of the at­tack, it took “quite a while” for them to find out their son had been killed.

“That was a very dif­fi­cult time in their lives, not know­ing what hap­pened to him,” he said. “Fear­ing the worst, of course. ... I know that was some­thing they never got over.”

The sur­prise at­tack by the Ja­panese killed more than 2,300 peo­ple and launched the U.S. into World War II. More than 400,000 Amer­i­cans died dur­ing the war, and to this day more than 72,000 are still un­ac­counted for, ac­cord­ing to the ac­count­ing agency.

From De­cem­ber 1941 to June 1944, Navy per­son­nel re­cov­ered the re­mains of the crew from the USS Ok­la­homa, in­ter­ring them in the Halawa and Nu’uanu ceme­ter­ies, ac­cord­ing to a re­lease from the ac­count­ing agency. The re­mains of the ca­su­al­ties in the two ceme­ter­ies were dis­in­terred in Septem­ber 1947 and taken to the Cen­tral Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion Lab­o­ra­tory at Schofield Bar­racks in Hawaii, where ex­am­in­ers were able to con­firm the iden­ti­fi­ca­tions of only 35 men from the USS Ok­la­homa.

Those who could not be iden­ti­fied, in­clud­ing Dorr, were clas­si­fied by a mil­i­tary board in Oc­to­ber 1949 as non-re­cov­er­able, ac­cord­ing to the re­lease. Those re­mains were in­terred at the Na­tional Memo­rial Ceme­tery of the Pa­cific, also known as the Punch­bowl, where they re­mained un­til April 2015, when the Sec­re­tary of De­fense or­dered the dis­in­ter­ment of un­knowns as­so­ci­ated with the USS Ok­la­homa.

Dorr’s re­mains were iden­ti­fied us­ing DNA anal­y­sis, den­tal and an­thro­po­log­i­cal anal­y­sis and cir­cum­stan­tial ev­i­dence, ac­cord­ing to the agency.

“You have to look at the sovereignty of God and the destiny of a fam­ily that we would be given the task of re­ceiv­ing his re­mains and pay­ing trib­ute and honor to him,” Howard said. “When I think of what we ask our young peo­ple to do in de­fend­ing our coun­try, it just amazes me that we have such in­cred­i­ble pa­tri­ots will­ing to do things that are just un­think­able and un­be­liev­able to pro­tect our free­dom. I don’t want our cit­i­zens to for­get about that. I don’t want that to slip away be­cause some­one is un­in­formed about what it costs to be an Amer­i­can ci­ti­zen.”

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