HOUSTON – Former President George H.W. Bush was honored in Houston, Texas with a second funeral before he is laid to rest at his presidential library at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.
The St. Martin’s Parish Choir performed “This is My Country” at Thursday’s funeral, which is the last public remembrance for the 41st president before his burial later Thursday during a private service at his presidential library in College Station.
Across the country, military installations that had the ability to present a 21-gun salute were to do so. At Fort Carson it was a 21-gun cannon salute.
Bush’s longtime friend and secretary of state, James Baker, gave the eulogy, along with Bush’s grandson, George P. Bush.
Baker began the eulogy Thursday with an apology. Using the nickname “Jefe,” which is Spanish for “boss,” Baker said he was going to brag about Bush, even though the former president hated boasting.
He called Bush the “best one-term president” in the nation’s history. He also praised Bush’s grace after the fall of the Berlin Wall, saying that Bush understood that humility toward a fallen adversary “is the very best path.”
George P. Bush told mourners Thursday that the former president would challenge his grandkids to games like “the first to sleep award.” The line drew laughs at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston, where the Bush family worshipped.
The 42-year-old George P. Bush holds the office of Texas land commissioner. He joined former Secretary of State James Baker in eulogizing the 41st president, who died last week at age 94.
George P. Bush is the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. He was easily re-elected in November to a second four-year term in Texas.
A special funeral train carried the casket to the final stop near his burial site. More than 1,000 Texas A&M Corps of Cadet mambers lined the route of the motorcade.
Bush will be laid to rest in a private ceremony alongside his wife, Barbara Bush, and their daughter Robin, who died at age 3 of leukemia in 1953.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)