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Bush hailed at funeral as U.S. 'soldier-statesman,' master of civility

Bush hailed at funeral as U.S. 'soldier-statesman,' master of civility

Postby smix » Wed Dec 05, 2018 7:39 pm

Bush hailed at funeral as U.S. 'soldier-statesman,' master of civility

URL: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-peop ... SKBN1O419D
Category: Obituaries
Published: December 5, 2018

Description: WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The late President George H.W. Bush was hailed at his state funeral on Wednesday as a World War Two hero, Cold War veteran and architect of a U.S. victory against Iraq who went on to represent a bygone era of civility in American politics. Amid an unusual bipartisan spirit at the service at the Washington National Cathedral, both Republican and Democratic politicians honored a president who called for a “kinder, gentler” nation. Bush, the 41st U.S. president, died last week in Texas aged 94. He occupied the White House from 1989 to 1993, and navigated the collapse of the Soviet Union and expelled former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s forces from oil-rich Kuwait.


“George H.W. Bush was America’s last great soldier-statesman,” Jon Meacham, a presidential biographer, said in a eulogy. “He stood in the breach in the Cold War against totalitarianism. He stood in the breach in Washington against unthinking partisanship,” he said. The capital’s current political feuds were briefly set aside in honor of the late president, a naval aviator who survived being shot down by Japanese forces over the Pacific Ocean in World War Two, and former head of the CIA. President Donald Trump shook hands with his predecessor, former President Barack Obama, who he has often sharply criticized, as he took his seat at the cathedral. Democratic former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Trump’s 2016 election opponent, and her husband Bill Clinton shared the front pew with Obama, Trump and their spouses. Trump, like Bush a Republican, infuriated the late president by attacking his sons, former President George W. Bush and Jeb Bush, one of Trump’s rivals in the 2016 Republican primary campaign. George W. Bush said his father “valued character over pedigree, and he was no cynic. He’d look for the good in each person, and he usually found it.” “The best father a son or daughter could ever have,” the former president said in his eulogy, his voice cracking with emotion. The late president has been remembered as a patrician figure who represented an earlier era of civility in American politics. He was voted out of office in part for failing to connect with ordinary Americans during an economic recession. But his reputation for moderation and politeness has shone more brightly in recent years in light of the divisiveness and anger in the United States that accompanied the rise of Trump. Canadian former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney lauded Bush’s role in handling the end of the Cold War and helping the tricky reunification of Germany. “When George Bush was president of the United States of America, 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,” Bush put together a U.S.-led international coalition that ousted invading Iraqi forces from Kuwait in 1991.
Trump tweeted on Wednesday that he was “Looking forward to being with the Bush family. This is not a funeral, this is a day of celebration for a great man who has led a long and distinguished life. He will be missed!” All surviving former U.S. presidents were at the cathedral along with their wives.


The guest list included Britain’s Prince Charles and leaders of Germany, Jordan, Australia and Poland, along with a host of former world leaders, such as former British Prime Minister John Major, who was in office during Bush’s term. Trump closed the federal government on Wednesday to mark a day of mourning for Bush, and several U.S. financial exchanges were closed. Bush, who had been President Ronald Reagan’s vice president, was president when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. He was dogged by domestic problems, including a sluggish economy, and faced criticism for not doing enough to stem the tens of thousands of deaths from the AIDS virus ravaging America. When he ran for re-election in 1992, he was pilloried by Democrats and many Republicans for violating his famous 1988 campaign promise: “Read my lips, no new taxes.” Democrat Bill Clinton coasted to victory. Hundreds of people lined Pennsylvania Avenue in downtown Washington to watch a hearse drive Bush’s coffin from Capitol Hill, where he had lain in state since Monday night, toward the cathedral on Wednesday morning. Thousands of people had filed past Bush’s body to pay their respects in the Capitol Rotunda, some getting a chance to see Sully, a service dog who was Bush’s friendly companion. Sully became an internet sensation after being photographed lying next to his late master’s coffin.

Ordinary Americans, dignitaries mourn Bush at U.S. Capitol

URL: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-peop ... SKBN1O315H
Category: Obituaries
Published: December 4, 2018

Description: WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Ordinary Americans, generals and former Cabinet members paid respects at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda on Tuesday to the late U.S. President George H.W. Bush, who died last week at the age of 94 after a life of service as a World War Two hero, head of the CIA and wartime president. Under the soaring Capitol dome, office workers and tourists walked in silence all day past a flag-draped casket that bore Bush’s body.


They were joined by former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who led the U.S. military during the 1991 Gulf War, as well as U.S. generals from that campaign against Iraq. Crew members from the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush were planning to pay their respects and the public was being admitted into the Rotunda throughout Tuesday night and until early Wednesday morning. Bush, the 41st U.S. president, was remembered as a patrician figure who represents a bygone era of bipartisan civility in American politics. National flags flew at half-staff on many foreign diplomatic buildings on Washington’s “Embassy Row,” past which Bush’s coffin will be transported on its way to the Washington National Cathedral for a memorial service on Wednesday. People lined up outside the Rotunda in near freezing temperatures. Inside, Bob Dole, 95, was helped out of his wheelchair, stood up and saluted toward the casket. Dole was defeated by Bush in the fight for the 1988 Republican presidential nomination. President Donald Trump, a fellow Republican, visited with the mourning Bush family at Blair House, an official guest house near the White House. They were greeted by former President George W. Bush, the late president’s son, and his wife Laura. “The elegance & precision of the last two days have been remarkable!” Trump wrote of the Bush memorial events in an earlier tweet. Bush’s service dog, a young Labrador retriever named “Sully,” also walked past the casket and sat near it briefly.
Bush was a World War Two naval aviator who was shot down over the Pacific in 1944 and a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency. He was elected president in 1988 after serving two terms as President Ronald Reagan’s vice president. During his four years in the White House, Bush ended the occupation of Kuwait by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s forces, steered the United States through the end of the Cold War and condemned China’s 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. “I’m very proud of the way that this country conducted their affairs under his presidency. And he’s (Bush) going to be sorely missed,” said Donald Woody, 52, a government contractor in the Washington area who visited the Rotunda. Woody, who was dressed in a Native American outfit on Tuesday, served in the U.S. Army from 1986 to 1992, encompassing Bush’s presidency Bush was dogged by domestic problems, including a sluggish economy and the AIDS crisis. When he ran for re-election in 1992, he was pilloried by Democrats and many Republicans for violating his famous 1988 campaign promise: “Read my lips, no new taxes.” Democrat Bill Clinton coasted to victory, ending Bush’s presidency. A Connecticut Yankee from a wealthy family who moved to Texas to be an oilman, Bush has been eulogized as a president with a keen sense of civility and duty. “No one’s ever been as qualified as he was,” said mourner Jim Wood, 55, who was waiting in line at the Capitol. Bush is the 12th U.S. president to lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda. The first was Abraham Lincoln following his assassination in 1865. Early in his political career, Bush served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1967-71. He lost bids in 1964 and 1970 for a U.S. Senate seat from Texas. The federal government and some financial exchanges will be closed on Wednesday for a day of mourning. Bush will be buried on Thursday in Texas.


URL: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-peop ... SKBN1O513C
Category: Obituaries
Published: December 6, 2018

Description: COLLEGE STATION, Texas (Reuters) - The body of former U.S. President George H.W. Bush was brought to the burial site at his presidential library in Texas on Thursday after a funeral at a Houston church where he was remembered by family members who knew him best as “Gampy.” Bush’s casket traveled by train from Houston to College Station, Texas, and then carried to the gravesite behind his library by a military honor guard, in a ceremony overseen by his son and former President George W. Bush. Bush, the 41st U.S. president, died last week in Texas at 94. His remains were flown to Texas on Wednesday following a state funeral at the Washington National Cathedral attended by President Donald Trump, the four living former presidents and foreign leaders. “The memorial was a beautiful tribute to President Bush’s extraordinary life and a noble legacy to public service,” Trump said at a Hanukkah reception at the White House on Thursday. “He was a wonderful man. We will always remember this great statesman and beloved American patriot. He really was very special.” Thursday’s funeral service in Houston was held at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, where Bush and former first lady Barbara Bush worshipped for more than five decades, and took on a more personal tone with remarks by family members. George W. Bush, who followed his father to the White House after President Bill Clinton’s two terms, sat in a front pew near the flag-draped casket and joined in as some 1,000 mourners sang “America the Beautiful.” George P. Bush, son of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and one of the former president’s 17 grandchildren, remembered fly fishing and sharing ice cream with the man he called “Gampy.” James Baker, a longtime friend who served as Bush’s secretary of state, eulogized the former president as a peacemaker and “a truly beautiful human being.” “He was not considered a skilled speaker, but his deeds were quite eloquent and he demonstrated their eloquence by carving them into the hard granite of history,” Baker said. Mourners laughed as Baker recalled how Bush would let him know a conversation was over: “‘Baker, if you’re so smart, why am I president and you’re not?’” His voice cracking at moments, Baker said he was at his friend’s deathbed last week. Raised in an Episcopalian family in Massachusetts, Bush fused his preppy New England background with the more free-wheeling traits of his adoptive state of Texas, where he moved as a young man to work in the oil industry. That mix was reflected in the music heard at his funeral: the St. Martin’s Parish Choir sang “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” country music star Reba McEntire performed “The Lord’s Prayer,” and the casket was carried out of the church to the thunderous strains of “Onward Christian Soldiers.”
Following the funeral service, Bush’s remains were taken by train some 80 miles (130 km) northwest to College Station for the burial alongside his wife, Barbara, who died in April, and their daughter Robin, who died of leukemia at age 3 in 1953. Residents of small towns along the route gathered to wave at the train, a Union Pacific Corp locomotive numbered 4141 and bearing the name “George Bush 41” on the side, as it passed.


Bush, a U.S. Navy aviator who narrowly escaped death when he was shot down by Japanese forces over the Pacific Ocean during World War Two, was honored with a 21-plane flyover in a “missing man” formation before he was carried to his gravesite for a private interment.A light rain that had fallen for much of the day in College Station ended just before the train carrying his body pulled into the station. Bush was president from 1989 to 1993, navigating the collapse of the Soviet Union and expelling former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s forces from oil-rich Kuwait. He supported the passage of the American with Disabilities Act, a major civil rights law protecting disabled people from discrimination. A patrician figure who served as vice president to Ronald Reagan, Bush lost re-election to a second term in part for failing to connect with ordinary Americans during an economic recession. He has also been criticized for supporting tough drug laws that led to the disproportionate incarceration of black people, as well as what activists call an insufficient response to the AIDS epidemic. But tributes in recent days have focused on the former Republican president as a man of integrity and kindness who represented an earlier era of civility in American politics.
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