The funeral for former President George H.W. Bush took place in Washington, D.C., at the Washington National Cathedral, on Wednesday.
Bush’s son, former President George W. Bush, delivered the Presidential eulogy commemorating his father.
At one point, at around 11:40 of his 12-minute eulogy, Bush briefly chokes up while remembering his father, “the best father a son or daughter could ask for.”
Watch the heartfelt eulogy below:
Bush described his father’s zest for life even in his golden years, attributing that to his career as a naval aviator who experienced risk and danger that caused numerous close calls with death.
“His brushes with death made him cherish the gift of life, and he vowed to live every day to the fullest,” Bush said of his father. “Dad was always busy, a man in constant motion, but never too busy to share his love of life with those around him.”
“The horizons he saw were bright and hopeful. He was a genuinely optimistic man, and that optimism guided his children and made each of us believe that anything was possible,” he said. “He’d continually broadened his horizons with daring decisions.”
Bush described his father’s tolerance, patience and empathy – and how those qualities impacted his relationships, as well as his approach to public service.
“Dad could relate to people from all walks of life. He was an empathetic man. He valued character over pedigree. He was no cynic. He looked for the good in each person, and he usually found it,” he said.
“Dad taught us that public service is noble and necessary, that one can serve with integrity and hold true to the important values like faith and family,” Bush explained. “He strongly believed that it was important to give back to the community and country in which one lived. He recognized that serving others enriched the giver’s soul. To us, his was the brightest of a thousand points of light.”
Bush also described the humility and strength that his father exuded, which are visible during the younger’s own career.
“In victory, he shared credit. When he lost, he shouldered the blame. He accepted that failure is a part of living a full life, but taught us never to be defined by failure. He showed us how setbacks can strengthen,” Bush said.
“George Bush knew how to be a true and loyal friend. He nurtured and honored his many friendships with a generous and giving soul. There exist thousands of handwritten notes encouraging, or sympathizing, or thanking his friends and acquaintances,” Bush continued. “He had an enormous capacity to give of himself. Many a person would tell you that Dad became a mentor and a father figure in their life. He listened, and he consoled. He was their friend.”
Bush then described the impact his father had on him, as well as his siblings.
“He was firm in his principles and supportive as we began to seek our own ways. He encouraged and comforted, but never steered. We tested his patience – I know I did – but he always responded with the great gift of unconditional love,” he said. “He showed me what it means to be a President who serves with integrity, leads with courage, and acts with love in his heart for the citizens of our country.”
“When the history books are written, they will say that George H.W. Bush was a great President of the United States, a diplomat of unmatched skill, a Commander-in-Chief of formidable accomplishment, and a gentleman who executed the duties of his office with dignity and honor,” Bush said.
“In his inaugural address, the 41st President of the United States said this: ‘We cannot hope only to leave our children a bigger car, a bigger bank account; we must hope to give them a sense of what it means to be a loyal friend, a loving parent, a citizen who leaves his home, his neighborhood and town better than he found it,'” he continued. “What do we want the men and women who work with us to say when we are no longer there? That we were more driven to succeed than anyone around us? Or that we stopped to ask if a sick child had gotten better, and stayed a moment there to trade a word of friendship?”
“Well, Dad, we’re going to remember you for exactly that and much more,” Bush said. “We’re going to miss you. Your decency, sincerity, and kind soul will stay with us forever.”
“Through our tears, let us know the blessings of knowing and loving you, a great and noble man. The best father a son or daughter could have,” Bush said, momentarily breaking down. “And in our grief, let us smile knowing that Dad is hugging Robin and holding mom’s hand again.”
George W. Bush tearfully concludes his eulogy to his father: “Through our tears, let us know the blessings of knowing and loving you, a great and noble man, the best father a son or daughter could have…Dad is hugging Robin, and holding mom’s hand again.” https://t.co/B3hZufXKHW pic.twitter.com/fxqwjIcSvi
— ABC News (@ABC) December 5, 2018
After Wednesday’s services, the President’s remains will be carried one last time back to Houston where another ceremony will take place at the St. Martin’s Episcopal Church on Thursday.
The former President’s final resting place will be the George Bush H.W. Presidential Library Center at Texas A&M University. He will be buried alongside his wife Barbara who died in April this year, and their daughter Robin, who died in 1953.