The nation and its five living presidents joined the Bush family on Wednesday afternoon in celebrating the life of 41st President George H.W. Bush, who died on Nov. 30 at age 94.
All five living presidents and their first ladies gathered, marked by a somewhat stilted handshake between the Trumps and the Obamas, as well as an endearing moment between President George Bush and First Lady Michelle Obama, in which he again offered her some sort of candy/mint as he did during Senator John McCain’s funeral months before.
W. just reached into his pocket as he walked down the aisle of the National Cathedral and pulled out a mint to hand to a smiling Michelle Obama, in a callback to this moment from John McCain’s funeral. pic.twitter.com/huYxmcYp3X— Willie Geist (@WillieGeist) December 5, 2018
Three of the late president’s granddaughters, Lauren Bush Lauren, Ashley Walker Bush and Jenna Bush Hager gave readings, along with his hometown minister, the Rev. Dr. Russell Levenson Jr., who performed a homily and Irish singer Ronan Tynan who performed with the backing of military musicians.
President George W. Bush delivered the main eulogy, remembering his father with loving tales of his optimism, patriotism, adventurous spirit and integrity in a way that only a son can. He ended the 12-minute tribute tearfully, offering words of comfort: “Through our tears, let us know blessings of loving you – a great and noble man, the best father a son or daughter could have. And in our grief, let us smile knowing that dad is hugging Robin and holding mom’s hand again.”
Watch President Bush’s full tribute below.
Former Senator Alan Simpson, friends with Bush dating back to 1962, also spoke at the funeral—opening with a joke about the stern instructions he’d received from the late president regarding speech length before detailing the pair’s history, eventually calling his friend “the most decent and honorable man I’ve ever met.”
Watch the former senator’s remarks below.
Historian and Bush biographer Jon Meacham also spoke, calling the late president “America’s last great soldier statesman,” and a “20th century founding father.” Representing the perspective of world leaders was former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, who, in speaking on the late president said “When George Herbert Walker Bush was President of the United States, every single head of government in the world knew that they were dealing with a gentleman – a genuine leader – one who was distinguished, resolute, and brave.”
Watch both Meacham and Mulroney’s remarks below.
With the memorial service finished, @JMeacham has given me permission to report that he had the chance to read that beautiful eulogy to President Bush before his death.After hearing his own eulogy, President Bush said, characteristically: “That’s a lot about me, Jon.” #Bush41— Willie Geist (@WillieGeist) December 5, 2018
Watch the entire service here.
Check out a few more images from the service below, including H.W. Bush being carried out of the cathedral and an unfortunate moment, unsurprisingly, in which President Donald Trump chose not to participate in honoring the former president.
This is your “Christian” evangelical president. pic.twitter.com/u0478FoSyR— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) December 5, 2018
The Honor Guard carries the casket of former president George Herbert Walker Bush down the center isle following a memorial ceremony at the National Cathedral in Washington. #Bush41pic.twitter.com/YNxayaHIam— Doug Mills (@dougmillsnyt) December 5, 2018
Since the late president’s death, users have taken to Twitter in remembrance. Find a few of these tributes below.
We join the nation in remembering and mourning President George H.W. Bush. We honor his dedication and lifelong service to his country, and we extend our sympathies to his family. Learn more: https://t.co/mJyDdrLc11#Remembering41pic.twitter.com/yLSGKB5U3K— U.S. Dept of Defense (@DeptofDefense) December 4, 2018
“Why the moon? Why Mars? Because it is humanity’s destiny to strive, to seek, to find. And because it is America’s destiny to lead.” – former President George H. W. Bush #Remembering41pic.twitter.com/OqkrFeDb8b— NASA Astronauts (@NASA_Astronauts) December 5, 2018
Senior Commanders during Desert Storm; General @mccaffreyr3 , General Colin Powell, General Carl Vouno and General Gordon Sullivan saluting our Desert Storm Commander In Chief.#Remembering41pic.twitter.com/bOM48NokE1— Jim Gill (@jimmygill) December 4, 2018
Today we’re honoring President George H.W. Bush with the nation. This photo was taken at the end of the Mackinac Bridge, following the 1992 Labor Day Bridge Walk. #Remembering41#GeorgeHWBushFuneralpic.twitter.com/Jv7WAr3986— Michigan State Police (@MichStatePolice) December 5, 2018