Funerals over, train takes Bush casket to final resting place
At 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. The funeral Thursday for Bush, who died last week at the age of 94, was one of the final events in the 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 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.
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 Museum at Texas A&M University – next to Barbara Bush and their daughter Robin, who died of leukemia in 1953 when she was 3.
In Houston, it was a much smaller tribute, in large part for the Bush family and their friends and supporters in Texas.
Bush’s locomotive procession gave his longplanned memorial services a throwback touch. The train ride from his Houston funeral to his College Station burial had been his idea, organizers said.
Former President George W. Bush, back left, watches as a military honor guard carries the casket of former President George H.W. Bush to a train bound for a burial site at the presidential library in College Station, Texas.