Former Presidents, Nation Gather to Celebrate Life of President George H.W. Bush

Politics Features George H.W. Bush
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Former Presidents, Nation Gather to Celebrate Life of President George H.W. Bush

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.

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.

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.

Since the late president’s death, users have taken to Twitter in remembrance. Find a few of these tributes below.