Bush Final Farewell Takes on Personal, Distinctly Texas Feel - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Bush Final Farewell Takes on Personal, Distinctly Texas Feel

Posted: Updated:
Former President George W. Bush embraces former Secretary of State James Baker, right, after he gave a eulogy during the funeral for former President George H.W. Bush at St. Martin's Episcopal Church, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, in Houston. (Photo: AP) Former President George W. Bush embraces former Secretary of State James Baker, right, after he gave a eulogy during the funeral for former President George H.W. Bush at St. Martin's Episcopal Church, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, in Houston. (Photo: AP)

HOUSTON (AP)- George H.W. Bush's family and friends praised his faith, humility and patience Thursday, saying the former president embodied courage and grace along with his unique brand of humor and kindness as days of national mourning in Washington took on a more personal feel during a final Texas farewell.           

Addressing a funeral at Houston's St. Martin's Episcopal Church where the 41st president and his family regularly worshipped, Bush's former secretary of state and confidant for decades, James Baker, addressed him as "jefe," Spanish for "boss." He praised Bush as a "truly beautiful human being" who had the "courage of a warrior but the greater courage of a peacemaker."           

"The world became a better place because George Bush occupied the White House for four years," said Baker, who concluded his remarks fighting back tears.           

Following the services, a special funeral train was carrying Bush's remains through small towns to the family plot on the presidential library grounds at Texas A&M University in College Station. His final resting place is alongside his wife and Robin Bush, the daughter they lost to leukemia at age 3.           

Thursday's flavor was distinctly Texas. In place of most Washington 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."           

The St. Martin's Parish Choir performed "This is My Country," which was also sung at Bush's presidential inauguration in 1989. Those gathered also heard a prayer stressing the importance of service and selflessness that the president himself offered for the country at the start of his term.           

President Donald Trump wasn't in attendance Thursday, but Baker seemed to draw a gentle contrast by saying Bush respected vanquished adversaries. He said that Bush's wish for a "kinder, gentler nation" was genuine, not cynical.           

There were rousing renditions of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and "Onward Christian Soldiers," but also many of Bush's country favorites. The Oak Ridge Boys recalled performing for him for decades 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."           

The previous evening, more than 11,000 people paid their respects as his casket that lay in repose in Houston all night.           

George P. Bush, the former president's grandson and the only member of the political dynasty still holding elected office, as Texas land commissioner, subsequently struck a more personal tone in his eulogy of the man he and 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 regularly attending services there 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's declining in health in recent years. He also suggested that when Bush died, he would meet his wife of 73 years, Barbara, in heaven and she would playfully demand "What took you so long?"           

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

At Wednesday's Washington funeral service at the National Cathedral, 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 former presidents and Trump watched George W. Bush eulogized his father as "the brightest of a thousand points of light."           

The cathedral service was a tribute to the patriarch of one of the nation's most-powerful political families - it occupied the White House for a dozen years -and to a faded political era that prized military service and public responsibility. Like Baker's address Thursday, it was laced with indirect comparisons to Trump but was not consumed by them, as speakers focused on Bush's public life and character - with plenty of cracks about his goofy side, too.           

"He was a man of such great humility," said Alan Simpson, former Republican senator from Wyoming. Those who travel "the high road of humility in Washington, D.C.," he added pointedly, "are not bothered by heavy traffic."           

Trump sat Wednesday with his wife, a trio of ex-presidents and their wives, several of them sharp critics of his presidency and one of them, Hillary Clinton, his 2016 Democratic foe. Apart from courteous nods and some handshakes, there was little interaction between Trump and the others.           

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 took comfort in knowing "Dad is hugging Robin and holding Mom's hand again."           

Bush's death makes Carter, also 94 but more than 100 days younger, the oldest living ex-president.

The coffin bearing the remains of former President George H.W. Bush is carried into St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018. (Photo: AP)

 

 

  • PoliticsMore>>

  • Virginia Governor Wants Faster Internet for Rural Areas

    Virginia Governor Wants Faster Internet for Rural Areas

    Saturday, December 15 2018 8:34 PM EST2018-12-16 01:34:23 GMT
    Saturday, December 15 2018 8:34 PM EST2018-12-16 01:34:23 GMT
    VIRGINIA (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam says he wants lawmakers to approve spending $50 million to make it easier for people to get faster internet service.More
    VIRGINIA (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam says he wants lawmakers to approve spending $50 million to make it easier for people to get faster internet service.More
  • Alma Mater Names Public Policy School in Honor of Biden

    Alma Mater Names Public Policy School in Honor of Biden

    Wednesday, December 12 2018 7:39 AM EST2018-12-12 12:39:52 GMT
    Wednesday, December 12 2018 8:02 AM EST2018-12-12 13:02:37 GMT
    In this file photo, former Vice President Joe Biden participates in a discussion on bridging political and partisan divides with Ohio Gov. John Kasich at the University of Delaware in Newark, Del., Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) In this file photo, former Vice President Joe Biden participates in a discussion on bridging political and partisan divides with Ohio Gov. John Kasich at the University of Delaware in Newark, Del., Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
    In this file photo, former Vice President Joe Biden participates in a discussion on bridging political and partisan divides with Ohio Gov. John Kasich at the University of Delaware in Newark, Del., Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)In this file photo, former Vice President Joe Biden participates in a discussion on bridging political and partisan divides with Ohio Gov. John Kasich at the University of Delaware in Newark, Del., Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
    The University of Delaware has named its school of public policy in honor of former vice president Joe Biden.More
    The University of Delaware has named its school of public policy in honor of former vice president Joe Biden.More
  • Hogan Highlights Political Moderation at Conference

    Hogan Highlights Political Moderation at Conference

    Tuesday, December 11 2018 1:42 PM EST2018-12-11 18:42:47 GMT
    Tuesday, December 11 2018 1:45 PM EST2018-12-11 18:45:59 GMT
    spoke Tuesday at a conference sponsored by the Niskanen Center, a moderate think tank with libertarian principles.  (Photo: Governor Larry Hogan Facebook page)spoke Tuesday at a conference sponsored by the Niskanen Center, a moderate think tank with libertarian principles.  (Photo: Governor Larry Hogan Facebook page)
    spoke Tuesday at a conference sponsored by the Niskanen Center, a moderate think tank with libertarian principles.  (Photo: Governor Larry Hogan Facebook page)spoke Tuesday at a conference sponsored by the Niskanen Center, a moderate think tank with libertarian principles.  (Photo: Governor Larry Hogan Facebook page)
    Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan says he believes most Americans are sick and tired of divisive politics and want elected officials to work together and compromise to solve the nation's problems.More
    Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan says he believes most Americans are sick and tired of divisive politics and want elected officials to work together and compromise to solve the nation's problems.      More
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Videotaped Package Delivery Irks Kent County Resident

    Videotaped Package Delivery Irks Kent County Resident

    Friday, December 14 2018 7:28 PM EST2018-12-15 00:28:42 GMT
    Friday, December 14 2018 7:28 PM EST2018-12-15 00:28:42 GMT
    CHESWOLD, Del. --- Chris Walsh got an alert on Thursday from his motion-sensitive door camera after a delivery truck with a package he was expecting arrived at his house. What Walsh said he didn't expect was to see the driver fling the package onto his frMore
    CHESWOLD, Del. --- Chris Walsh got an alert on Thursday from his motion-sensitive door camera after a delivery truck with a package he was expecting arrived at his house. What Walsh said he didn't expect was to see the driver fling the package onto his frMore
  • Berlin Man Dies Following Crash in Wicomico County

    Berlin Man Dies Following Crash in Wicomico County

    Saturday, December 15 2018 8:24 PM EST2018-12-16 01:24:01 GMT
    Saturday, December 15 2018 8:24 PM EST2018-12-16 01:24:01 GMT
    SALISBURY, Md. - A Berlin man died following a crash in Salisbury.More
    SALISBURY, Md. - A Berlin man died following a crash in Salisbury.More
  • Police Investigating Deadly Hit and Run

    Police Investigating Deadly Hit and Run

    Saturday, December 15 2018 8:23 PM EST2018-12-16 01:23:42 GMT
    Saturday, December 15 2018 8:23 PM EST2018-12-16 01:23:42 GMT
    HARRINGTON, Del. (AP) - Delaware State Police are investigating a deadly hit-and-run crash that killed a pedestrian.More
    HARRINGTON, Del. (AP) - Delaware State Police are investigating a deadly hit-and-run crash that killed a pedestrian.More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices