Body of former US President Bush returns to Houston for funeral

Irene MckinneyDec 07, 2018

Former President George W. Bush speaks at the State Funeral for his father, former President George H.W. Bush, at the National Cathedral, Dec. 5, 2018, in Washington.

And Meacham said that late in his presidency, Bush's tongue ran amok when he said: "We are enjoying sluggish times, but we're not enjoying them very much".

He added: "This is not a funeral, this is a day of celebration for a great man who has led a long and distinguished life".

As Trump arrived, Hillary Clinton - his 2016 opponent, and the subject of the president's continuing taunts - did not glance his way.

Bush has been remembered for his public and military service, volunteerism and personal character.

Simpson said Bush "loved a good joke - the richer the better".

Bush Snr had been in ill health in the months leading up to his death which came seven months after that of his wife, Barbara, who died April 17 at age 92. "In our grief, I just smile knowing that dad is hugging Robin, and holding mom's hand again", he said.

The elder Bush was "the last great-soldier statesman", historian Jon Meacham said in his eulogy, "our shield" in risky times. Many federal offices are closed along with Wall Street stock markets. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump visited with Bush and Laura Bush at the White House on Tuesday, and later went to Blair House, across the street, later in the day.

Streeter Lecka  Getty Images
Streeter Lecka Getty Images

The late president's eulogists - son included - noted Bush's tendency to tangle his words and show his goofy side.

Jon Meacham, a presidential biographer, said in a eulogy: "George H.W. Bush was America's last great soldier-statesman".

Donald and Melania Trump shared a front row pew at Washington National Cathedral with past presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and their wives as an honor guard brought Bush's flag-draped casket into the packed prayer hall.

Later on Wednesday, a plane carrying the body of Bush, who died last week in Texas aged 94, landed in Houston where there will be a funeral service on Thursday at St. Martin's Episcopal Church.

"I don't think it's respect for the human being if you talk smack about them, if you say the nastiest things about them, if you treat them as subhuman, and then you want to show up at their funeral".

Mulroney, too, struggled at one point to contain himself as he recounted Bush, a former navy pilot, showing him a plaque mounted at the family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine.

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

None of that means, however, that Jeb Bush and President Trump's differences have been resolved.

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