Funeral

The Times Herald (Norristown, PA) - - LO­CAL NEWS -

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 Baker.

As the post-fu­neral mo­tor­cade car­ry­ing Bush’s re­mains later sped down a closed high­way from the church to the train sta­tion, con­struc­tion work­ers on all lev­els of an un­fin­ished build­ing paused to watch. A man sit­ting on a fer­ris wheel near the aquar­ium waved.

Bush’s body was later loaded onto a spe­cial train fit­ted with clear sides so peo­ple could catch a glimpse of the cas­ket as it rum­bled by. The train trav­eled about 70 miles in two-plus hours — 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 Bush’s pres­i­den­tial li­brary at Texas A&M Univer­sity. Bush’s fi­nal rest­ing place is along­side his wife, Bar­bara, and Robin Bush, the daugh­ter they lost to leukemia at age 3.

In the town of Cy­press, 55-year-old Doug Allen left eight coins on the tracks be­fore the train passed — three quar­ters, three dimes and two pen­nies. The train left the coins flat­tened and slightly dis­col­ored.

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

Andy Gor­don, 38, took his 6-year-old daugh­ter, Ad­di­son, out of school so she and her 3-yearold The flag-draped cas­ket of for­mer Pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush is car­ried by a joint ser­vices mil­i­tary honor guard Thurs­day, Dec. 6, 2018, in Spring, Texas, as it is placed on a Union Pa­cific train. sis­ter, Ashtyn, could see the train pass in Pine­hurst, Texas.

“Hope­fully, my chil­dren will re­mem­ber the sig­nif­i­cance and the mean­ing of to­day,” Gor­don said. Ad­di­son was car­ry­ing two small Amer­i­can flags in her hand.

The train ar­rived in Col­lege Sta­tion in the late af­ter­noon with a mil­i­tary band play­ing “Hail to the Chief” and Texas A&M’s “Ag­gie War Hymn.”

About 2,100 cadets in their tan dress uni­forms with jack­ets and ties and knee-high boots waited for hours on a cold, gray day to line the road —known as Bar­bara Bush Drive— to the Bush li­brary’s front doors. The U.S. Navy con­ducted a 21 strike fighter fly­over, a salute to the World War II Navy pi­lot, fol­lowed by a 21-gun can­non salute on the ground.

At the ear­lier ser­vice at Hous­ton’s St. Martin’s Epis­co­pal Church, where Bush and his fam­ily reg­u­larly wor­shipped, the choir sang “This is My Coun­try,” which was also sung at Bush’s pres­i­den­tial in­au­gu­ra­tion in 1989. Those gath­ered heard a prayer stress­ing the im­por­tance of ser­vice and self­less­ness that the pres­i­dent him­self of­fered for the coun­try at the start of his term.

There were rous­ing ren­di­tions of the “Bat­tle Hymn of the Repub­lic” and “On­ward Chris­tian Sol­diers,” and also per­for­mances from some of Bush’s coun­try fa­vorites. The Oak Ridge Boys re­called play­ing for him for decades — some­times at the White House — and joked that Bush “fan­cied him­self to be a good bass singer. He was not.” They then sang

“Amaz­ing Grace,” and Reba McEn­tire of­fered a mu­si­cal ver­sion of “The Lord’s Prayer.”

Thurs­day’s fla­vor was dis­tinctly Texan, un­like days of pre­vi­ous Washington cel­e­bra­tions that had more of a na­tional feel. In place of most fed­eral dig­ni­taries were top Hous­ton ath­letes in­clud­ing the NFL Tex­ans’ de­fen­sive end J.J. Watt — dis­play­ing Bush’s love for sports — and Chuck Norris, who played TV’s “Walker, Texas Ranger.”

Grand­son Ge­orge P. Bush, the only mem­ber of the po­lit­i­cal dy­nasty still hold­ing elected of­fice, as Texas land com­mis­sioner, used a eu­logy to praise the man the younger gen­er­a­tions called “gampy.”

“He left a sim­ple, yet pro­found legacy to his chil­dren, to his grand­chil­dren and to his coun­try: ser­vice,” Ge­orge P. Bush said.

The church’s pas­tor, Rev. Rus­sell Leven­son, Jr., re­called the Bushes of­ten at­tend­ing ser­vices and of­fer­ing to give up their seats to oth­ers on days when the church was par­tic­u­larly crowded.

“He was ready for heaven and heaven was ready for him,” Leven­son said of Bush who was in de­clin­ing in health in re­cent years. The min­is­ter also sug­gested that when the for­mer pres­i­dent died, he met his wife of 73 years in heaven and Bar­bara Bush play­fully de­manded, “What took you so long?”

In­deed, the fu­neral oc­curred at the same church where ser­vices were held in April for Bar­bara Bush. Those are re­mem­bered for an emo­tional scene when the for­mer pres­i­dent gazed from his wheel­chair up at her cas­ket, then shook hands with well-wish­ers.

Wed­nes­day night, more than 11,000 peo­ple paid their re­spects as Bush lay in re­pose at the church all night.

Ear­lier Wed­nes­day, at Washington Na­tional Cathe­dral in the na­tion’s cap­i­tal, there was high praise for the last of the pres­i­dents to have fought in World War II — and a hefty dose of hu­mor about a man whose speak­ing delivery was once de­scribed as a cross be­tween Mis­ter Rogers and John Wayne. Three other for­mer pres­i­dents and Don­ald Trump watched as Ge­orge W. Bush eu­lo­gized his fa­ther as “the bright­est of a thou­sand points of light.”

Trump, who once mocked the late pres­i­dent’s “points of light” call to vol­un­teerism, had noth­ing but fa­vor­able words Thurs­day.

“He was a won­der­ful man. We will al­ways re­mem­ber this great states­man and beloved Amer­i­can pa­triot,” Trump said. “He re­ally was very spe­cial.”

AP PHOTO/DAVID J. PHILLIP, POOL

AP PHOTO/DAVID J. PHILLIP, POOL

Peo­ple pay their re­spects as the train car­ry­ing the cas­ket of for­mer Pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush passes Thurs­day, Dec. 6, along the route from Spring to Col­lege Sta­tion, Texas.

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